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Examining Racial Disparities in Criminal Case Outcomes among Indigent Defendants in San Francisco - Penn Law 2017 

07-06-2017 09:30

In this report, the authors document that Black, White and Latinx indigent defendants in San Francisco have substantially different experiences during the criminal adjudication process. Specifically, 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. Their felony charges are less likely to be reduced, and misdemeanor charges more likely to be increased during the plea bargaining process, meaning that they are convicted of more serious crimes than similarly situated White defendants. In addition, Black and Latinx defendants are more likely to plead guilty, and the nature of those pleas are different; Black defendants plead guilty to more charges than White or Latinx defendants, while Latinx defendants plead guilty to a smaller fraction of the charges they are booked for than Black or White defendants. After examining multiple potential causes of these differences, we find that the majority of the variance can be explained by two factors: the initial booking decisions made by officers of the San Francisco Police Department and racial differences in previous contact with the criminal justice system in San Francisco County.

#ResearchData #RacialJustice #LawEnforcementJails

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