The scholarly literature on capital punishment includes few empirical studies of executive clemency. Commutations in capital cases have been rare since 1972 when the current era of capital punishment began with the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Furman v. Georgia. A large proportion of pre-1972 death sentences were commuted; examination of clemency decisions in those cases promises to reveal much about the history of capital punishment in the United States. The present study attempts to identify factors which influenced decisions to grant commutations of Florida death sentences pre-Furman, focusing particularly on whether the race of defendants and victims influenced the decision to commute.
The Quality of Mercy: Race and Clemency in Florida Death Penalty Cases, 1924-1966,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol27/iss2/9