A new study from Carlos Berdejo of Loyola Law School demonstrates for the first time that there are significant racial disparities in the plea deals that white and black people receive on misdemeanor charges—with black people facing more severe punishment.
This suggests, as Berdejo concludes in his report, that prosecutors use race to judge whether a person is likely to recidivate when deciding what plea to offer.
The majority of arrests nationally are for misdemeanor charges. At The Bronx Defenders, where we provide public defense services to low-income people in the Bronx, we had over 18,000 new misdemeanor cases in 2016 alone. That was more than three quarters of our cases, and about half of all cases that we closed last year resulted in plea deals.
s the person will be held on bail. Frequently, people charged with misdemeanors accept pleas just to go home.
When Race Tips the Scales in Plea Bargaining, Jenn Rolnick Borchetta/Alice Fontier