Guide to the
This Report provides
detailed descriptions of: the current death penalty debate (Part IA);
the amount and seriousness of the capital error found by courts during
the 1973-1995 study period (Parts IB-II); our research methods (Part III);
the results of 19 statistical analyses of our data on capital reversal
rates (Parts IV-VI); our interpretation of those results (Part VII); and
available policy options (Part VIII).
in a comprehensive summary of our main findings and conclusions
may wish to read the following portions of the Report:
- Executive Summary
- Table of Contents,
which states the conclusion of each section of the Report (pp. ix-xxvii).
- Summary and Interpretation
of Regression Results (pp. 337-90).
- Conclusion (pp.
in descriptions of particular cases in which serious capital error
was found may wish to read:
- Our study of four
illustrative cases in which courts approved the convictions and death
sentences of innocent men despite a full set of appeals (pp. 25-35).
- A description of
the errors found in each of 352 state post-conviction decisions reversing
a capital verdict between 1973 and April 2000 (Appendix C).
- A description of
46 illustrative federal habeas corpus reversals during the 1973-1995
study period (Appendix D).
in comparisons of the 34 capital-sentencing states studied here
may wish to examine:
- Figure 1B, p. 51,
which shows the states' overall reversal rates during the 1973-1995
- Figure 11, p. 121,
which shows the states' death-sentencing rates during that period.
- Table 18, pp. 344-45,
which ranks states based on how much risk of serious capital error they
faced based on our best analyses of each of eight conditions found to
be related to error, holding other conditions constant at their averages.
- State Report Cards
(Appendix A) documenting each state's use of the death penalty and capital-error
rates during the study period.
in comparisons of the error and death-sentencing rates of relatively
populous counties and cities in the U.S. that imposed 5 or more death
sentences during the study period may wish to examine:
- Tables 13 and 14,
pp. 294-95, 297-99, comparing high death-sentencing and low-death sentencing
counties and cities based on their capital-error rates and how frequently
they sentenced persons to die who later were shown to be not guilty.
- Table 16, pp. 304-05,
comparing the 73 largest capital counties and cities based on their
death-sentencing and capital-error rates.
- Table 19, p. 346,
comparing the 6 counties in the nation with over 100 death sentences
and the 9 counties with between 50 and 100 death sentences based on
their death-sentencing rates.
- Table 20, p. 348,
giving examples of high and low death-sentencing counties in the same