Researchers unveil first of four reports on racial disparities in prosecutor behavior

phys.org | 6/12/2019 | Staff
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To promote fairness and transparency in the criminal justice system, researchers at FIU and Loyola University Chicago have partnered with prosecutors in Tampa, Chicago, Jacksonville and Milwaukee to take a fresh look at prosecutorial performance and decision-making.

The project aims to identify racial and ethnic disparities at various stages of a criminal case, from arrest and charges being filed to plea agreements, conviction and sentencing.

Researchers - FIU - Department - Criminology - Criminal

Researchers from FIU's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice assessed nearly 87,000 cases from 2017 and 2018 to compare outcomes for black, white and Hispanic defendants in Hillsborough County, Florida. Although there were differences between racial groups, the disparities were not glaring, researchers found.

"Among multiple prosecutorial and judicial decision points analyzed, racial and ethnic disparities are not large,'' said FIU criminal justice professor Besiki Kutateladze, who along with Loyola professor Don Stemen, FIU associate professor Ryan Meldrum and post-doctoral research associate Rebecca Richardson, led the project, housed within the Center for the Administration of Justice at the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs.

Differences - Defendants - Decisions - Whites - Decision

"Whenever differences among white, black and Hispanic defendants in prosecutorial and judicial decisions exist, whites are more disadvantaged for some decision points and offense categories, and blacks and Hispanics are more disadvantaged for others,'' Kutateladze explained.

"For example, whites were most likely to receive prison sentences for felony property offenses. Blacks were least likely to receive diversion [a process in which the offender avoids a criminal conviction by entering some type of rehabilitation program] for felony drug offenses. And Hispanics were most likely to receive charge increases before case disposition [final outcome] for misdemeanor drug offenses. Because the findings vary by decision points and offense categories, we cannot make one sweeping statement that one group is consistently treated better or worse."

State - Attorney - Andrew - Warren - Judicial

State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa said he...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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