MVFHR board member Bill Babbitt was quoted yesterday in an article that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, "Death penalty and race: Scales of justice may weigh heavily against blacks":
For Bill Babbitt, a black man, the question comes down to this: Why did Sacramento County condemn his brother Manny to death for killing a white woman but sentence his cousin Butchie's white killer to a year in jail?
"I'm looking at all these murders that have occurred, hundreds, and I'm thinking, how did Manny's name come up?" says Babbitt, who witnessed his brother's execution by lethal injection in 1999.
How did Manuel Babbitt become one of the 827 first-degree murderers chosen for California's ultimate penalty? The same question is being asked, in effect, by a state commission that tried to learn whether race or other inappropriate factors have been determining who gets the death penalty and who does not.
Read the rest of the article here.