Blameworthiness and dangerousness: An analysis of violent female capital offenders in the United States and China
The United States and China represent two of the leading nations that retain the death penalty in both law and practice. Research suggests that judges' sentencing decisions are based primarily on two factors, blameworthiness and dangerousness. Studies involving gender and sentencing in capital punishment cases tend to provide inconsistent findings. The current study uses case narratives to examine the direct and conjunctive effects of various factors on the sentencing decisions of violent female capital offenders in the United States and China. The findings suggest that the concepts of blameworthiness and dangerousness are distinctly defined in the United States and China. The study proposes that the differences observed in the capital offense sentencing practices of these two countries can be attributed to the distinct political, legal and social systems of the United States and China.