Re "Death penalty is applied unevenly statewide" (Editorial, Sept. 11): From where I sit, the statement in the table headed "Unequal Justice" is misleading. While it is certainly true that Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties hand down the most death sentences in absolute terms, the rate per million data suggest that the death penalty is most likely to be applied in Riverside and Tulare counties.
It may also be important to consider other factors that could be confounding the data, such as the proportion of cases that are plea-bargained rather than taken to trial. Further considerations could be the proportion of cases in which first-degree murder is alleged or the death penalty is actually sought.
Absent those data, however, it would seem that my chance of getting the death penalty is higher in Tulare County than in either Los Angeles or Orange County. Not that any of this will induce me to move to the southland.
-- Jennifer D. Franz, Sacramento
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