Judges Sentence Black Defendants More Harshly, Study Finds

A new study, conducted by professors at Harvard Law School, finds that judges appointed by Republican presidents gave longer sentences to African-American defendants than judges appointed by Democrat presidents.

“Republican-appointed judges sentence black defendants to three more months than similar nonblacks and female defendants to two fewer months than similar males compared with Democratic-appointed judges,” the study found, adding, “These differences cannot be explained by other judge characteristics and grow substantially larger when judges are granted more discretion.”

The Harvard professors examined the sentencing practices of about 1,400 federal trial judges over more than 15 years.

NY Times spoke with Douglas A. Berman, an authority on sentencing law at Ohio State University. “It’s an extraordinarily important contribution to our statistical understanding of sentencing decision making in federal courts over the last two decades,” he said.

“The racial gap by political affiliation is three months, approximately 65 percent of the baseline racial sentence gap,” the authors wrote. “We also find that Republican-appointed judges give female defendants two months less in prison than similar male defendants compared to Democratic-appointed judges, 17 percent of the baseline gender sentence gap.”

For more on this study, see here.

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I am a digital content creator and have worked in the digital space for more than ten years. "Robinrazzi" is a nickname given from a former colleague because I'm known for having a camera in hand at all times. I have traveled the world covering entertainment events, celebrities and anything trending. I earned my BA in Communications from Penn State and a MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. I currently serve as Director of Digital Content for WHUR and the Howard University Radio Network.

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