Midnight: I would also like to see documentation/studies/demographics proving that white females and rich people avoid the death penalty. I know of many cases in which that is not true and have yet to read one where that has been the case. In cases where the death penalty was NOT handed down, either the evidence had not been processed properly leading to a case for reasonable doubt or the state could not put forth enough evidence on all the cases (these are usually serials) to gain the death penalty.
Some links which have bearing on the points being made:http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/women-and-death-penalty
As of January 1, 2010 there were 61 women on death row. This constitutes 1.87% of the total death row population of about 3,261 persons.
In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S, including 12 since 1976. See, Women Executed in the U.S. Since 1900 for the date, state, race, and method of each execution.
That site has a list of women executed, the date they were executed, and the relationship to the victim. You will find, unfortunately, that a large number of these relate to domestic violence cases. For some reason --- and criminal psychology has not chosen to look at this closely --- women seem less inclined to commit the crimes which would lead to the death penalty.
I believe, though I have no substantiation, that it has to do with the US' and possibly the western world's (I would like to see data from other countries which still hold the death penalty and see how they compare to ours) reluctance to kill females combined with an artificial belief, present since pre-Christian times, that a woman is either an animal who cannot help herself or has an inherently weak character resulting in same.
This is an interesting article on gender discrimination:http://nicomachus.net/2006/12/gender-discrimination-in-the-us-death-penalty-system/
This one delves into the realm of the psychologist and proposes the following:
Although the demographics on male versus female death-row prisoners suggest that males are the criminal justice system’s primary targets, I argue that the system also discriminates against women. Utilizing contemporary feminist theories of gender, I argue that female prisoners are punished primarily for violating norms of gender correctness.
Here's an article from the ACLU, which cannot be considered unbiased, which addresses the racial issues:http://www.aclu.org/capital-punishment/race-and-death-penalty
The color of a defendant and victim's skin plays a crucial and unacceptable role in deciding who receives the death penalty in America. People of color have accounted for a disproportionate 43 % of total executions since 1976 and 55 % of those currently awaiting execution. A moratorium of the death penalty is necessary to address the blatant prejudice in our application of the death penalty.
Unfortunately for the author, he runs into the same problem as the criminal psychologists did: no one has closely studied WHY these minorities tend to be the ones in the criminal justice system who warrant the death penalty. There's lots of speculation about racial bias, gender bias, and racial tendencies but very little data (ie: where the offenders are from, what background, etc. and how that compares to non-violent offenders and people who do not commit crimes). The fundamental question remains: is it ecological, is it racial, is it a bias?
Until those questions are answered the debate will keep going. Hopefully these links will give you something on which to further your premises. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
-- Tx, not in mod mode