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June 30, 2017

"Examining Racial Disparities in Criminal Case Outcomes among Indigent Defendants in San Francisco"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting big new report published by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.  This Crime Report piece about the report provides this overview of its findings:

An individual’s race and ethnic background determine how he is treated at the “front end” of the criminal justice system, according to a study published this week.  The study, which, focused on poor African-American, Latino and white defendants (all male) in San Francisco, found what it called “systematic differences” in outcomes during the preliminary steps of an individual’s involvement in the justice system, from arrest and booking to the pretrial phase.

“Defendants of color are more likely to be held in custody during their cases, which tend to take longer than the cases of White defendants,” said the study, published by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.  “Their felony charges are less likely to be reduced, and misdemeanor charges (are) more likely to be increased during the plea bargaining process, meaning that they are convicted of more serious crimes than similarly situated White defendants.”

The study’s conclusions added a troubling dimension to existing research on racial disparities in the U.S. justice system which has largely concentrated on “final case outcomes,” such as conviction, incarceration and sentence length.  In California, for example, African-American men are incarcerated at 10 times the incarceration rate of white men, five times the incarceration rate of Latino men, and 100 times the incarceration rate of Asian men, according to figures cited by the study.

But the study authors’ examination of more than 10,000 records of cases between 2011 and 2014 provided by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office challenged the notion that the difference is explained simply by the fact that African-Americans or Hispanics commit more crimes than other groups.  Their findings suggest that whites are in fact treated more leniently when they are apprehended during the early stages of their involvement in the justice system, thus making them less likely to end up with prison terms in the first place.

The full report linked above runs more than 100 pages, but the Quattrone Center webisite has this shorter summary version.

June 30, 2017 at 05:33 PM | Permalink


Just as I thought.

"People of color have pre-existing racial differences reflected in their criminal record, based on previous encounters with the criminal justice system in San Francisco County. This criminal history has a “ripple effect” that impacts plea negotiations for subsequent charges, as police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys make plea bargain decisions based in part of the individual’s prior criminal history."

Not corrected for criminal record. Dismissed.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 30, 2017 9:41:40 PM

From my perch blacks are more violent, filthy language and are just plain low lifes.

None of these behaviors has anything to do with being poor. Its their choice.

They are on free be system, their parents, and their parents parents were as well.

Sorry, made no effort to improve. These people would be required to work 20 hrs week and 2 yrs of free money and Id cut them off. The mommy baby makers that collect more for every kid they crank out would also end.

When they have a background like thus and while still in the hospital with their first baby, sterilize right there, reject ut, cut iff benefits for life.

Get a job every one else has to work. why not them. Sorry, but I dont believe in a wishy washy weak ineffective system that has failed for decades. Dah.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jun 30, 2017 10:36:07 PM

Mid. Click once and wait. The Comment Section is slow to upload. I got criticized for monopolizing when I impatiently clicked four times, and sent 4 identical Comments.

The idea that anyone is poor in this country stems from a lawyer arithmetic error. They forgot to count the value of welfare benefits, around $50,000, tax free.

As a result, our pseudo-poor are obese. You cannot be poor if you have a positive calorie balance.

I sometimes think, who is the fool, they or I? Instead of working to send them half my pay, I could receive others' half salary, live high, tax free, be judgment proof, and 95% crime immune. I could live the full time Roman Orgy lifestyle, and shoot people who offend me, holding a pistol sideways.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 1, 2017 2:49:51 AM

Mid. To just review the effect of skin melanin on criminality or even as a marker of criminality, consider this. Very dark skinned African immigrants have low crime rates, and matched the economic performance of whites in the 2010 Census.

This fact shows that race is not a factor, and that racism is not a factor.

They differ from our American blacks, in having intact patriarchal families, in having a low bastardy rate, in being religious (yes, Christian), and in not having an entitled attitude. Africans are now the curve busters. They are the Koreans. Employers and beautiful American black women chase after them with all kinds of incentives. I once watched the finals of the American Spelling Bee. No Americans. A black kid stepped up. I said, finally, an American. No. Kenyan.

What do American black males do? Learn? Compete? Wake up, put it into gear? No. They beat them up.

The biggest rebuttal to both racists and race whores? The election of one of them to the Presidency of the USA. Obama was the child of an African immigrant, and had zero exposure to the American black experience. His problem was his intellect was devastated at Harvard Law School. He turned into one of the very worst Presidents in our history, in the same class as Carter, a moron, an asshole. Real Americans put Trump in office from buyer's remorse.

I predict, perhaps not their children, but their grandchildren will have the social pathologies we are discussing. That will prove that the American legal system is the toxic factor, and not skin color.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 1, 2017 3:06:19 AM

What is up with the vile racism? It's disgusting.

With respect to the study--does it control for prior criminal record?

Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2017 9:40:40 AM

The problem with prior criminal record is that it creates path dependence: once a criminal always a criminal. Since the present system isn't working so well we should try it in reverse--the more crimes one commits the shorter each succeeding sentence becomes. Let that be a manifestation of our forgiveness.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 1, 2017 11:14:13 AM

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