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Monday, January 31, 2005

Racial Disparity in Sentencing-Report from the Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Project just published a review of the literature on racial dispaority in sentencing.  Among the findings:

· Young, black and Latino males (especially if unemployed) are subject to particularly harsh sentencing compared to other offender populations;
· Black and Latino defendants are disadvantaged compared to whites with regard to legal-process related factors such as the “trial penalty,” sentence reductions for substantial assistance, criminal history, pretrial detention, and type of attorney;
· Black defendants convicted of harming white victims suffer harsher penalties than blacks who commit crimes against other blacks or white defendants who harm whites;
· Black and Latino defendants tend to be sentenced more severely than comparably situated white defendants for less serious crimes, especially drug and property crimes.

Studies that examine death-penalty cases have generally found that:
· In the vast majority of cases, if the murder victim is white, the defendant is more likely to receive a death sentence;
· In a few jurisdictions, notably the federal system, minority defendants (especially blacks) are more likely to receive a death sentence.

[Jack Chin]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2005/01/racial_disparit.html

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