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When it comes to the outcome of a court case, many factors come into play, from the nature of the crime to the mood of the court. However, without the best defense, the verdict could be out of a defendant’s control. According to a recent study conducted by Cyrus Vance, the district attorney for Manhattan in New York City, a prosecutor’s persistence might not be the sole influence on the judgment of some cases; they could be influenced by the defendant’s race.


The Findings

With the help of the Vera Institute for Justice, Vance opened more than 220,000 records that had come through his office between 2010 and 2011 to determine if the cases’ verdicts were affected by disparate factors. Although the researchers found that the cases’ outcomes were influenced by a number of things, race had a measurable impact on the collected data. The Vera Institute reported that, of the cases, blacks were 19 percent more likely to be offered plea deals that required jail time for marijuana-related misdemeanors. They also found that courts were 19 percent more likely to offer plea bargains that included time behind bars to blacks than whites. For misdemeanor person and drug offenses, blacks and Latinos saw more jail time before their arraignment, and blacks were 15 percent more likely to receive a verdict that involved imprisonment. Other statistics calculated throughout the study also suggested a racial disparity in case outcomes, but the researchers ultimately could not pinpoint a reason for these discriminatory results.

The Possible Racial Reason

The researchers may not have been able to determine the cause for racial disparity between the cases, but Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the director for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York, maintained that the skewed results could reflect the higher number of crimes charged against blacks and Latinos. In an article by the New York Times, Muhammad said that approximately 8 out of the 10 of defendants in the study’s cases were black and Latino—a problem that starts with police officers, not prosecutors.

If you, or a loved one, are facing criminal changes and are concerned with finding adequate, non-biased representation, contact criminal defense attorney Gabriel Grasso. With the best criminal defense results in Las Vegas, the law offices of Gabriel Grasso are here to help. Call today at (702) 868-8866.