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There are various criminological theories that have sprung up to explain the disparities of death penalties in men and women. No dual criminological theories are similar although, some may be established on the same ideologies and it is upon an investigator to get the best out of the abundant theories. The conflict theory in, Understanding the influence of Victim Gender in Death Penalty Cases: The importance of Victim Race, Sex-related Victimization and Jury-decision-making, is one such theory. One of the early conflict philosophers, Austin Turk, attributed the disparity of death penalties to governmental decree. He stated that laws tend to castigate people whose conduct was more characteristic of the less influential compared to the more powerful and the extent to which other groups or people utilize their power over other groups and institutions. Women in the twenty first century have formed groups that have persistently continued to push for their ideals. In this regard, it is more common for men to face death row charges as the society would be in an uproar if more women face death penalties. This theory does not draw a clearly defined line between the minority and the powerful. The mere fact that one can be in both extremes complicates matters further (Holcomb 2007).
The pluralistic approach is another theory that tries to address the predicament. This approach reflects on the multiplicity of beliefs and values that exist in a multifaceted society. It looks at different view points in the society and agrees that there shall always be disparities in the society because of the different groups. These groups include: - age, gender, ethnicity among others. In as much as the theory suggests that this anomaly can be resolved through unbiased government officials, it does not offer a convergence point for the dissimilar groups. On the other hand, the consensus theory by Raymond J. Michalowski asserts that law is as a result of consensus. People agree on what is right and wrong. If the society agrees that one of the genders should face stiffer penalties, then this is integrated within the system.
What role does gender play in determining the conviction of an offender? To answer this, the use of researches was employed. One of the research studies made by Holcomb, Williams and Demuth tries to analyze the influence of a victim’s gender in cases pertaining to death penalties and the multitude of the data was drawn from Woodworth, Baldus, and Pulaski (2007) and the data reflected on Georgia’s system of death penalty. For optimum results, the victim’s sexual category and race were utilized as variables and thus taken into consideration. The results found that the leniency levels afforded to defendants in cases pertaining to black male victims was elevated. Defendants who murdered women were also more likely to face a death penalty. Translated, it means that those who murder white females receive the harshest sentences especially, if black males are the perpetrators of the offence. The study also unveiled that the victim gender had little impact on prosecution decisions but considerable weight in decisions made by juries.
The data was acquired from the Incriminating and Sentencing of the various culprits of law by law enforcers .They are core weighted and through a logistic regression model, receiving death condemnations is four times greater, especially in cases concerning white targets. Sample proportions utilized equaled the quantity of cases in the populace meeting requirements in the study period. The model deals with the quantifying of respondent race and sexual category but not the victim’s gender.
In his article Pulaski (2007) states that the weaknesses of the findings in this study was that it limited its examinations to the bivalent level or have statistical shortcomings that might prove to be of significant values. This prevents the attainment of a high degree of confidence in terms of conclusions. The study only looks at the impacts in cases where the victim is alone and not in a group of inter-racial. These studies are, in addition, theoretical in nature. This is because the social data sets obtained do not have concise sequence regarding the nature of victimization. These might, on the other hand, ascend from the convictions by the adjudicators that see female sufferers as weaker and deserving protection than male victims. The study did not concern itself with other factors such as the psychological processes that the preceding judges under went if they were really aware that they were passing verdict that had no harmonious effect to the masses. The positive attribute possessed by the study was the fact that it brought to book the countless systems of inequalities that troubled Georgia. It was also used as a reference point to subsequent studies of similar nature.
Research Study Two
The research by Stephen Demuth, Holcomb, Mariam Williams, and Jefferson (2004), White female victims and death penalty research Justice Quarterly, is also a firsthand study on death punishments associated with race and sexual category. The research question is whether there is a death penalty disparity when sexual category and race is well thought-out. Its main objective was to look at the severity of legal responses in homicide suitcases. The pragmatic analysis of hypothesis was used to evaluate the significant levels between defendants found guilty of slaying white females and those who exterminated women of other races. This in essence explored the possibility of victim race and sexual characteristic being used to mask significant differences in the lawful way that manslaughter is responded to.
A sample data was utilized in the research that was drawn from a population of approximately five thousand homicide suitcases. This made the source of information to be more credible than most other known sources. Even though it was hard for the researchers to be given access to the information, the overall cost of the investigation was cut down considerably. In his article (1977), Michalowski states that these cases were of a diverse nature, meaning that it ranged from a black man slaying a white woman and vis-à-vis. The data was found to be comprehensive in nature and entailed the offender and victim’s characteristics, relationship and offense distinctiveness. Only race and sexual characteristics were used as variables while assuming that everything else was held at a constant and given the assumption that apart from these two aspects, the law dispensers such as judges were reasonable.
The advantage of the study is that it helped modern Sociologists to investigate and construe how and why human beings conduct themselves in a particular manner. This is constructive because it can help law makers to streamline the constitution in such a way that it is free from bias. The study has further helped in predicting future events and puts the organs of bylaw to task to mete out free and fair rulings. This is for the reason that the study has unearthed in a detailed way, the predisposition that existed in court declarations previously. Its advantage is also found on the fact that more studies can now be built up from this case study.
The foremost limitation faced by the research on race and sexual category of the victims was examined as discrete independent factor in the statistical prototypes. The study does not look at the race and sexual characteristics of either the arbiter or the district attorney for that matter and this is one crucial matter that might cause a big difference when factored into the study. In his article, Williams (2004) proposes that this study does not take into account the olden times when there was no law structure and the information obtained might fail to be assorted because of the differences in education schemes. The study does not concern itself with the details of other continents, for instance, the study would have been more comprehensive if case studies from distant territories such as Africa were analyzed to test out whether findings would be dependable. In overall, the study has augmented animosity especially, between the black- white extremists from the dual races. Quantifying people in terms of two shades was misleading for the reason that there are many races that lie in between the two colors and they may have been overlooked by the investigation study. Moreover, the research was entirely focused on the issue of homicide.
The findings showed that death sentences were more likely to be meted on convicts of white female targets contrary to when the victim belonged to other race-gender category. The findings, however, did not look at the people who actually faced the death hollows after their sentence because, as at the time of compiling the report, only very few people had been executed. This conclusion augmented with the research question thus, negates the null hypothesis. This response proved unique and may result in differential sentencing outcomes. In as much as both case studies reflected specific societies, research should be carried out on a wider scope and the existing data re- examined after conducting the same investigation in other states.
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