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NCJ Number: 44419 Find in a Library
Title: IMPACT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY ON BLACKS IN TRIAL COURTS OF A SOUTHERN STATE (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE - LAW AND POLITICS, 2D ED., 1976 BY GEORGE F COLE - SEE NCJ-44417)
Author(s): O WILLIAMS; R J RICHARDSON
Corporate Author: Wadsworth Publishing Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Wadsworth Publishing Co
Belmont, CA 94002
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE POSSIBILITY THAT BLACKS AND WHITES RECEIVE DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA'S LOWER TRIAL COURTS IS EXPLORED IN A STUDY OF 5,716 MISDEMEANOR CASES.
Abstract: THE STUDY CASES ARE A SAMPLE DRAWN FROM 296,929 CASES PROCESSED FROM JANUARY 1, 1967, TO APRIL 30, 1969, IN 20 COUNTY COURT SYSTEMS WITH VARYING RACIAL AND POLITICAL CHARACTERISTICS. THE ANALYSIS DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN SOCIETAL CRIMES (E.G., BAD CHECKS, MINOR THEFT, SHOPLIFTING, AND MAJOR AND MINOR TRAFFIC OFFENSES), WHICH APPEAR TO HAVE THE GREATEST CONSEQUENCES FOR THE WHITE COMMUNITY WHEN COMMITTED BY BLACKS, AND NONSOCIETAL CRIMES (E.G., ASSAULTS, PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, AND NONSUPPORT), WHICH ARE PREDOMINANTLY INTRARACIAL IN NATURE. FIVE SIGNIFICANT POLICY OUTPUTS OF THE JUDICIAL PROCESS -- ARRAIGNMENT, DISMISSAL, CHARGE REDUCTION, ACQUITTAL, AND SENTENCE -- ARE CONSIDERED. ALTHOUGH AGGREGATE DATA SUGGEST VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE IN THE TREATMENT OF BLACKS AND WHITES, EXAMINATION OF RACIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMUNITIES AND DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF CRIME REVEALS THAT THE POLICIES OF NORTH CAROLINA'S TRIAL COURTS CONTRIBUTE TO CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT ALLOCATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE BETWEEN BLACKS AND WHITES. THROUGHOUT THE JUDICIAL PROCESS, ELITES FORMULATE AND APPLY POLICIES THAT RESULT IN VARYING DEGREES OF HARSHNESS FOR THE AVERAGE BLACK DEFENDANT. FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT, EVEN WITH THE MOST DELIBERATE EFFORTS TO DISTRIBUTE JUSTICE IMPARTIALLY, THE IMPACT OF THE LAW FALLS HARDEST ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY, BECAUSE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS ARE SUCH THAT BLACKS ARE ARRESTED MORE OFTEN THAN WHITES. SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY PUTS THE AVERAGE BLACK DEFENDANT AT A DISADVANTAGE ONCE HE ENTERS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. DIFFERENCES IN OUTCOME OF PROSECUTION FOR WHITES AND BLACKS SUGGEST THAT BLACKS ARE LESS ABLE THAN WHITES TO MANIPULATE THE SYSTEM TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE INABILITY OF WHITE JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, AND POLICE TO EMPATHIZE WITH BLACKS MAY STEM NOT FROM PREJUDICE BUT FROM A FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVES, MORES, AND BEHAVIOR OF BLACKS. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Acquittals; Arraignment; Black/African Americans; Caucasian/White Americans; Discrimination; Dispositions; Misdemeanor; North Carolina; Plea negotiations; Sentencing/Sanctions; State courts; Studies; Trial courts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=44419

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