Issues of Consistency in the Federal Death Penalty A Roundtable Discussion on the Role of the U.S. Attorney


U.S. Attorneys are the first line of decision makers in the process that identifies which cases may be subject to the federal death penalty. A Justice Department survey released in 2000 showed that since the mid-1990s, when the number federal death penalty-eligible crimes was greatly expanded, a disproportionate number of defendants considered for the sanction were minorities. The Vera Institute of Justice convened a roundtable of former U.S. Attorneys who served during the study period to discuss what role, if any, their decision making process played in the imbalance. This report draws on that discussion to examine the challenges prosecutors face in reconciling local conditions against nationwide laws that many considered unduly focused, for political reasons, on urban, drug-related crime.


Representation Matters

No Child Should Appear in Immigration Proceedings Alone

Each year, thousands of immigrant children are placed into court proceedings in which government prosecutors seek to deport them unless those children can prove they have a right to stay in the United States. Many face these immigration proceedings alone. Many children have legal options that establish their ability to remain in the United States, ...

  • Alyssa Snider, Becca DiBennardo
December 23, 2021
Photo by Alex Burness/The Colorado Independent.

Bans on Holiday Cards and $30 Phone Calls—the Isolation of Prison

The way the United States separates people who are incarcerated from loved ones has always been harsh, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made an already stressful situation worse. Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, many of the nearly two million people incarcerated haven’t seen their loved ones—not even on a video call. And speaking w ...

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  • Nazish Dholakia
    Nazish Dholakia
December 21, 2021
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