Racial Bias In the Imposition of Death Penalty

In McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279, 296, 107 S. Ct. 1756, 95 L. Ed. 2d 262 (1987), the Supreme Court rejected a claim of racial bias in the imposition of death sentences and again emphasized that "discretion is essential to the criminal justice process" and insisted it would "demand exceptionally clear proof" before finding an abuse of that discretion. Id. at 297. In Freeman v. Attorney General, 536 F.3d 1225, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008) the defendant in did not challenge the state attorney's protocol for determining whether to pursue a death sentence. What Freeman argued was that the prosecutor sought a death sentence in his case because of the defendant's race--an impermissible motive.