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The Administration of the Death Penalty in Pennsylvania

Researchers are investigating racial disparity in death penalty sentencing in all death-eligible cases in Pennsylvania during the time period 1998-2010.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Ulmer, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology ()
  • Co-Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D.
  • Project Consultant: John Kramer, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology- Emeritus 
  • Research Assistant: Edward Hayes, M.A., Robert Hutchison, M.A.

About the Project

  • Funded by the PA Supreme Court’s Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness and the Falk Foundation.

Research Questions

  • Is there racial disparity in death penalty sentencing in PA?

Project Details

  • Identify all death eligible cases in PA during the time period 1998-2010.
  • Analyze the role that race plays relative to other variables in determining death penalty sentencing.
  • Currently in the data analysis phase.

Implications

  • Results will inform public debate on the controversial topic of the death penalty.