Federal Execution Delayed Due to Racial and Geographic Concerns
Citing the absence of clemency procedures and concerns about racial and geographic disparities in death penalty cases, President Clinton is planning to postpone what was to be the first federal execution in almost 40 years. The Justice Department is compiling a report that will try to determine if members of racial minorities or individuals in specific parts of the country are more likely to face the federal death penalty. Since 1988, the attorney general has authorized the death penalty against 199 defendants, more than three-fourths of which were members of minority groups. Between 1995 and 1998, there were 471 death penalty cases submitted to the Justice Department with just under half of those cases originating in five judicial districts. The study should be completed within a week to two.