7 Conn. Inmates Fight Death Penalty
Argue that race, geography affected likelihood of death sentence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2012 8:34 AM CDT
Daniel Webb, who is on death row for the murder of a bank executive in 1989, is among the plaintiffs.   (AP Photo/Department of Correction, File)

(Newser) – Seven of Connecticut's 11 death row inmates are suing the state to get their sentences overturned, arguing that race and geographic bias played a part in their criminal prosecution. They claim their penalty was decided in an arbitrary and discriminatory way based on their race and where they were prosecuted. Connecticut abolished the death penalty this year, but the ban only applies to capital cases since April 25. Their trial gets under way today.

The inmates' key evidence is a study that reviewed the state's nearly 4,700 murders from 1973 to 2007, and found that minority defendants in murder cases with white victims were three times more likely to receive a death sentence than white defendants in cases with white victims. Minority defendants convicted of death penalty-eligible murders of white victims were also six times more likely to receive a death sentence than minority defendants convicted of death penalty-eligible murders of minority victims. Connecticut state prosecutors hired their own expert who disputed much of those findings. Six of the men on Connecticut's death row are black; four are white; one is Hispanic.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
Sep 5, 2012 2:00 PM CDT
suing ha either kill them or give them a free sex change!
Sep 5, 2012 11:17 AM CDT
While they are correct that certain economic and racial backgrounds lead to death row, it doesn't matter. We all have choices in life and must live with those choices.
Sep 5, 2012 10:30 AM CDT
As a democrat I am offended that we would waste the energy and manpower to execute these people. Two wrongs does not make a right and who knows if they could be rehabilitated. If these executions are allowed to stand we will never find out!