Part 1: Bibliographic Entry
Gross, Samuel, Maurice Possley, and Klara Stephens. “RACE AND WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES.” National Registry of Exonerations. 07 Mar. 2017. Web. < http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Race_and_Wrongful_Convictions.pdf>.
Part 2: Background and Credibility of Author & Source
Samuel Gross is a lawyer that is a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School. He graduated from Columbia College in 1968 and got a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973. He is known for leading a team of researchers that research information about wrongfully convicted people on death row.
Maurice Possley, was a former investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He is the senior researcher for the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School.
Klara Stephens is a senior researcher who has written articles on wrongful convictions and the race discrepancies associated with these convictions.
Part 3: Précis
This fact sheet provides evidence that show that race plays a huge factor in whether or not someone gets convicted for a crime or not. I focused my research in on Part 2 that describes the statistics on the murder patterns amongst white and black people. This article also notes that the race of the victims are just as important as the defendant. Statistics suggest that when the victims are white, the defendant is more likely to be convicted and sentenced to death versus when the victim is black. The exoneration rates were also discussed between white people and black people. The average exoneration for black exonerees was 15 years and 12.5 years for white exonerees. This article goes into a number of different cases where black people, simply based on their race were accused and convicted of committing a crime they didn’t commit.
Part 4: Reflection
I think that this article provides a lot of logos in forms of statistics to use. They give many statistics that show the correlation between black convictions and white convictions. This can definitely support my first source regarding the McMillian case. The part that discusses that when the victim is white, the defendant is more likely to get sentenced to death can be applied to Walter McMillian case. The victim of the shooting was a young white girl. It seemed that the officers in that case were more upset for it being a white victim that died, and they were frustrated that they still couldn’t wrap up the case. Instead, they turned to scapegoating. The part where the research discusses that witness tampering was also a factor can also be applied. The jury and judge relied on faulty testimony to make their decision. I think I might introduce the statistical evidence first to set the groundwork and then discuss the different cases of wrongful imprisonment.
Part 5: Quotables
“Judging from exonerations, innocent black people are about seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people.”
“Many studies in at least 15 states have shown that defendants who are charged with killing white victims, regardless of their own race, are more likely to be sentenced to death than those charged with killing black victims.11 Since 1976, 76% of executions in the United States were for murders of white victims. The disparities we see in our data suggest that innocent defendants who are charged with killing white victims are more likely to be sentenced to death, and sometimes no doubt executed, than those charged with killing black victims” (Gross et al. pg. 4).
“On the other hand, witness tampering is committed almost exclusively by police officers. It occurred in 21% of murder exonerations with white defendants but in 39% of those with black defendants, nearly twice as often.” (Gross et al. pg. 6).