Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2002, $1,332,979)
Project Summary for grant 2002-IJ-CX-0022
The goal of this study is to provide policy makers with valid and credible information about the factors that affect the federal government's decision to seek the death penalty in some cases but not others. Specifically, are these decisions made in a reasoned, systematic, and equitable way? Concerns about this matter stem in part from disparities in death penalty decisions at both the state and federal levels that are associated with defendant and victim race, and ethnicity, as well as geography. We will investigate whether the dispariries at the federal level are due to bias versus systematic differences in case characteristics. In short, are similarly situated cases treated alike and are cases that differ in severity treated differently? The research uses a "balance-the-ticket" design by assembling two teams that are intimately familiar with the methodological issues in this field but whose publications and professional activities reflect diffrent views. These teams will jointly design and supervise the data collections activities - which include abstracting case records and conducting interviews with those involved in the decision making process. However, the teams with conduct their own independent analyses of the data. The methods used to analyze the statistical data will include cross-classification, logistic regression, recursive partitioning, score card, and other data mining techniques.
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