Warren McCleskey was convicted of two counts of armed robbery and one count of murder in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia. McCleskey was African American; his victim was white Atlanta Police Officer Frank Schlatt. His case was appealed to the US Supreme Court, McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987), accompanied by a statistical study arguing that the death penalty is applied in a discriminatory manner, with killers of white people being more likely to be sentenced to die.
The Court ruled that general statistical date did not require a reversal unless discrimination could be demonstrated in the individual case. It is conjectured that the Court also feared the consequences if the statistical argument was accepted because, presumably, the entire US criminal system would be severely affected since if racial discrimination affects the death penalty, it also affects lesser penalties. The ruling is controversial. McClesky was executed in 1991.