quinta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2017

Disparidades 3

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.
Berdejo analyzed 30,807 misdemeanor cases in Wisconsin over a seven-year period and found that white people facing misdemeanor charges were more than 74 percent more likely than black people to have all charges carrying potential prison time dropped, dismissed, or reduced. And white people with no criminal history were more than 25 percent more likely to have charges reduced than black people who also had no criminal history.
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.
Prior studies have found racial disparities in the plea bargaining process. The Berdejo study differs, however, in that it analyzes a detailed statewide data set of the entire life of criminal cases, from charging to sentencing, making it more reliable and expansive.
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.
If there are racial disparities in pleas in misdemeanor cases that lead to worse punishment of black people, it means a significant proportion of our criminal justice system is meting out punishment in a racially-biased manner.
Prosecutors wield enormous power and total discretion in deciding whether and how to charge people, whether to request pre-trial detention or money bail, and what plea to offer. One factor guiding this decision is whether the attorney believes the person will be held on bail. Frequently, people charged with misdemeanors accept pleas just to go home.
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