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Abstract

Previous studies of the national landscape around the death penalty for women have identified and analyzed past themes and issues.22 This Article brings the analysis current through 2005, beginning with a reprise of the conversations about gender bias and disparity in the death penalty system. It appears that female offenders have always been treated differently from male offenders in the death penalty system, sometimes for reasons that are easily justifiable but too often simply because of sex bias. The next section of this Article explores the current death penalty era, identifying those women who have been sentenced to death, those whose death sentences were reversed, those who were actually executed, and those still remaining on death row. National data reveal trends and patterns, as well as the death penalty states leading in this practice and the death penalty states that have never executed a woman. Finally, this Article explores the conclusions suggested by these data. In closing, specific means are identified by which death penalty jurisdictions can reconsider policies that result in sex-based disparities and can reduce those instances of sex bias in their death penalty systems.

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