The article sought to answer questions concerning treatment of the Hispanics defendants and victims within the U.S criminal justice system; it was the first study to successfully answer questions concerning treatment of the Hispanic in the U.S., especially on eligibility of death sentences.
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It analyzed homicide cases handled in San Joaquin county of California from august 1977 to 1986. It also identified several manifestations of racial discrimination between the whites and non whites by comparing Asian Americans and Hispanics marriages with the whites and discovered that the Asian Americans and Hispanics had higher chances of getting married to the whites compared to the African Americans.
The research came to a conclusion that death penalty system was full of discriminatory patterns from charging stage to the sentencing stage. Among the identified patterns, racial discrimination was said to be a major defining factor in cases where offender’s received death penalty.
The study was based upon two main hypotheses. The first hypothesis was that, there is significant relationship between race and the number of Hispanics sentenced to death while the second one was; there is no significant relationship between race and the number of Hispanics given death sentences.
Since the research was conducted with purposes of studying death sentencing among the Hispanics. It did by answering sociological questions and legal concerns raised on the Hispanics given their greater interaction with the whites especially through intermarriage.
The study examined eligibility of death sentencing by analyzing data recorded in defendants’ sentencing reports and information acquired from bureau of criminal justice statistics.
The data collected included defendant’s biological information as well as the characteristics of crimes committed. Data taken from the BCJS included detailed information concerning victim’s age, race and relationship with the defendant.
The two sources effectively identified the weapons used by the victims, methods of killing used and the court proceedings. The study used “homicidal act” as its unit of analysis with multiple victim murders being treated a single case except in cases where they had to be treated separately.
The study found out that majority of the victims within the county of San Joaquin were white.48 % of the identified victims were white, while the Hispanics constituted 28 % of all the identified cases. The African Americans constituted 23 % of the total number of cases identified.
Asia was identified as the smallest group and accounted for 6 percent of the targeted sample. Majority of the victims were male and constituted 73 percent while women represented only 26 % of the cases. In addition, the data gathered identified that, death-eligible charges were never levied on defendants of Asian American origin.
Black defendants were identified as having the highest rate of the death-eligible charges which constituted of 29 percent while the white defendants were termed as the second highest group with 26 percent. The study effectively answered the laid hypothesis since results, showed presence of discrimination cases.
The study played a very crucial role of revealing existence of gender and racial discrimination in death-eligible charges within San Joaquin County. The study replicated former findings by discovering that, white offenders faced much greater chances of being charged with death-eligible offences compared to the black victim cases. In addition, the research was fundamental in establishing the relationship women and men’s odds of receiving capital homicide charges