Mary Kate DeLucco

ACLU Report: Los Angeles Death Sentences Reveal “Stunning Racial Disparities”

San Francisco (June 18, 2019) — A report published today by the ACLU, “A Closer Look at Los Angeles County’s Troubling Death-Penalty Track Record,” finds that under LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, the DA’s office “continues to waste the jurisdiction’s precious time and resources on death penalty prosecutions.” And, the report notes, these capital sentences reveal “stunning racial disparities that eviscerate any claim Lacey may make about representing constituents or delivering what the people of L.A. County want.

The report is thorough, well researched, and alarming. “All of the 22 people who received death sentences while DA Lacey has been in office are people of color,” it found. What’s more, “Between 2000 and 2015, Latinx, Black, and Asian homicide victims collectively comprised 87% of the victims of homicide in Los Angeles County, while white homicide victims constituted only 12%. Nonetheless, more than a third (36%) of the 22 defendants sentenced to death during DA Lacey’s term involved at least one white victim.”

DPF President Mike Farrell said, “The report further bolsters the argument we’ve been making for decades: the death penalty system is broken beyond repair. This county encapsulates all of the problems with capital punishment: its racism and arbitrariness, and how it is unequally applied. And, at a time when other states are either scaling back death sentences if not abolishing capital punishment altogether, Los Angeles is leading the nation in sentencing men and women to death.”

There are 734 men and women on California’s death row. The state’s last execution was in 2006. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium in March.

You can read the full report here.

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