Racialized Victim Gender Differences in Capital Decision Making in Pennsylvania

The death penalty has historically been used to communicate moral outrage and fear about the murders of some kinds of victims more than others. A large body of research has inquired into the effects of defendant race, and to a lesser extent victim race in capital punishment. However, there is much less research on how victim gender influences capital punishment decisions, and even less research on how victim gender and race might intersect to influence such decisions. This study examines the role of victim gender and race in: prosecutors’ decisions to seek the death penalty, prosecutors’ decisions to retract death filings, and jury or judge decisions to sentence defendants to the death penalty. We utilize detailed data on first degree murder convictions in 18 Pennsylvania counties, 2000–2010. The intersecting gender and race of victims conditioned each of the death penalty outcomes. In addition, whether the victim had children conditioned the effects of victim gender/race.



Work Title Racialized Victim Gender Differences in Capital Decision Making in Pennsylvania
Open Access
  1. Jeffery T. Ulmer
  2. Lily S. Hanrath
  3. Gary Zajac
  1. Death penalty
  2. Gender disparity
  3. Racial disparity
  4. Sentencing
  5. Prosecutorial discretion
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Justice Quarterly
Publication Date October 19, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2021.1965187
Deposited May 31, 2023




This resource is currently not in any collection.

Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Ulmer_et_al._JQ_Race_Gender_and_Death_Penalty_pdfA.pdf
  • Added Creator Jeffery T. Ulmer
  • Added Creator Lily S. Hanrath
  • Added Creator Gary Zajac
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publication Date Show Changes
    • Death penalty, Gender disparity, Racial disparity, Sentencing, Prosecutorial discretion
    Publication Date
    • 2022-01-01
    • 2021-10-19
  • Updated