How cynical is SB 1270 - Texas Racial Justice Act?
Let's look at these two provisions under SB 1270. Art. 53.02. PROOF OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION; PROCEDURE.
(1) statistical evidence derived from the county where the defendant was sentenced to death, including evidence that death sentences were sought or imposed more frequently as punishment for
capital offenses against persons of one race than as punishment for capital offenses against persons of another race; or
(f) If the court finds that race was a significant factor in a decision to seek or impose the sentence of death at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed, the court shall order that a death sentence not be sought, or that the death sentence imposed by the judgment be vacated and the defendant resentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
As to (1), frequency is a measure of occurrence, not a measure of disproportionality, discrimination or measurable bias.
For example, if 10 death sentences are sought and imposed for both black and white murderers, the frequency of death sentences for each race is equal. Equal frequency can be, totally, disproportionate.
If whites had committed 100 death penalty eligible murders, yet only 10 death sentences were sought and imposed, and blacks had committed 12 "identical" (2) death penalty eligible murders, yet 10 death sentences were sought and imposed, there would be equal frequency, but striking disproportionality.
For those truly looking for discrimination, it doesn't matter how frequently, how often or how rarely the death penalty is sought or imposed for murderers of different races/ethnicities, it only matters if it is significantly, measurably disproportionately sought or imposed based upon discrimination.
In any jurisdiction, if death sentences are sought or imposed 10 times for whites and 7 times for blacks or 10 times for blacks and 7 times for whites, the frequency is 30% less or 43% more and - voila - a claim of "more frequently" will be made and discrimination will be pronounced, even if death sentences are sought and imposed proportionately to any race/ethnicity involvement in capital murders and there is zero discrimination.
The RJA, intentionally, allows cases to be challenged and overturned based upon a definition of "discrimination" which has nothing to do with discrimination.
Even if the bill made some real effort at wording that was honest and meaningful, we all know that every case is different and therefore batches of cases will never have statistical exactitude as the bill's author's know. Therefore it is just an anti death penalty bill and nothing more. No surprise.
(f) is so, blatantly, cynical it seems stupid to even point it out. To state the obvious, the authors of the bill are stating that racial discrimination is OK within LWOP, just not within the death penalty. I am surprised that was not written into the bill. Oh, yeah, it was.
The RJA makes a mockery of justice and is a direct insult to those who truly wish to end racism and discrimination.
The RJA is a big, unnecessary dishonest mess.