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Four short years after declaring capital punishment unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia (1972), the US Supreme Court revived the death penalty, affirming its constitutionality in Gregg v. Georgia. Debates over capital punishment typically revolve around its usefulness as a deterrent. However, these debates ignore the human rights violations intrinsic to capital cases in the U.S. This research focuses on the violations that take place in the ways capital punishment convictions are obtained in Missouri and how they are disproportionately sought for defendants of color, inhibiting the right to life, the right to due process, and the prohibition against cruel and unusual treatment. I will also analyze the extent to which the victim's race influences convictions and sentences in St. Louis County and St. Louis City/County, the two Missouri areas with the most capital punishment cases, as well as how the defendant’s race affects time spent on death row.



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Cruelty and Racism in Missouri's Death Penalty