American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 15–29

Mercy, death, and politics: An analysis of executions and commutations in New York State, 1935–1963


DOI: 10.1007/BF02887615

Cite this article as:
Freilich, J.D. & Rivera, C.J. Am J Crim Just (1999) 24: 15. doi:10.1007/BF02887615


This study focuses on the 249 executions and the 49 commutations not based upon any policy per se of the New York State governors between the years 1935 and 1963. Clemency is an inherently political decision. Therefore, it is expected that groups which are disfavored or viewed as dangerous (blacks, males, felony murderers, and non-youthful offenders) will register higher execution rates than favored groups. Contingency tables and logistic regression analyses offer partial support in that offender race and age are significantly related to final disposition.

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbany