Comparative review of death sentences: An empirical study of the Georgia experience.

Baldus, D. C., Pulaski, C., & Woodworth, G. (1983). Comparative review of death sentences: An empirical study of the Georgia experience. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 74, 661-753.

The Georgia Supreme Court reemphasized recently its view of the constitutional importance of the appellate review process. The purpose of this study was to assess the manner in which the Georgia Supreme Court has actually performed this function, particularly with respect to sixty-eight death sentence cases which the court reviewed and affirmed between 1973 and 1979.

Legally relevant case characteristics (particularly number of aggravating factors) and defendant’s prior record associated with sentences using multiple regression analysis. Controlling for hundreds of case characteristics, killers of Whites 4.3 x more likely to receive death sentence than killers of Blacks.

http://www2.law.columbia.edu/fagan/courses/law_socialscience/documents/Spring_2006/Class%2016-Capital%20Punishment/Baldus_Study.pdf