Release Date:  August 22, 2011
Contact:  Michael Rushford
(916) 446-0345

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The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a pro-law enforcement victims’ rights organization, today denounced remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in an interview published in the August 21 issue of the Concord Monitor.  Paul demonstrated “stunning ignorance” regarding the death penalty, according to CJLF.

In the interview Paul said that he had changed his view of capital punishment based on “study,” saying, “my position now is, since I am a federal official and I would be a U. S. President, is I do not believe in the federal death penalty...”

Later in the interview Paul said, “It’s so racist, too.  I think that more than half of the people getting the death penalty are poor blacks.”

“Where did he get his information, from an anti-death penalty group?” said Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger.  “From what he said, it appears that his study consists of reading propaganda from death penalty opponents,” he added.

Scheidegger pointed to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report on capital punishment, which indicates that as of December 31, 2009, the nation’s death row population totaled 3,173 of whom 1,317 were blacks.  That is 41.5%.

“Paul got it wrong on this, but more importantly he seemed unaware that, according to the U. S. Department of Justice statistics, about half of all murderers are black.  The facts show that, among murderers, blacks are receiving the death penalty somewhat less often than others convicted of murder.”

The Foundation cites several studies, including those conducted by death penalty opponents, which  overwhelmingly show no racial bias against black murder defendants in capital sentencing.

“This information is readily available for anyone who bothers to look,” said Scheidegger.  “By characterizing the death penalty as ‘so racist,’ Paul implies that the prosecutors, jurors, and judges who impose it are racists.  The public should be concerned about the credibility of any candidate for public office, and especially for President of the United States, who demonstrates this kind of ignorance on an issue of this importance, even while claiming that his position is the result of study.”

The statistics cited in this release are available at:
and at:
Discussions of the studies on racial bias among defendants sentenced to death are available at:

CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger is available for comment at (916) 446-0345.
Foundation arguments helped win six United States Supreme Court decisions benefitting law enforcement and public safety during the Court’s term ending last June.