Corrections for Racial Disparities in Law Enforcement

By Griffin, Christopher L., Jr.; Sloan, Frank A. et al. | William and Mary Law Review, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Corrections for Racial Disparities in Law Enforcement


Griffin, Christopher L., Jr., Sloan, Frank A., Eldred, Lindsey M., William and Mary Law Review


B. The First Correction Mechanism: Prosecutors

The first set of outcomes we explored relates to how magistrates set pretrial release bail or bond. Recalling the four broad classes of release conditions--(1) promise to appear/custodial release/pretrial release; (2) unsecured bond; (3) cash; and (4) secured bond--we estimate Equation (1) with Bond_Class as the dependent variable and various subsets of the remaining regressors included. The ordered structure of the dependent variable means that larger odds ratios correspond to increased odds of the higher bond values. Thus, although we do not estimate the likelihood of receiving each pretrial release condition, we can say something about the relative likelihood of receiving more onerous conditions. Column 1 of Table 4 displays odds ratios and 95 percent confidence intervals from an ordered logit regression in which the dependent variable is sequenced as above with respect to perceived severity. (130) The point estimates suggest that Hispanic men are 86 percent more likely to receive a more taxing release mandate than white men and that this relationship is less pronounced for black men. White women, on the other hand, are 23 percent less likely to receive more onerous pretrial release conditions.

Column 2 indicates that the same pattern holds for whether the release condition carries any monetary payment, and Column 3 reports differences with respect to the amount of those payments using ordinary least square regressions. (131) In total, magistrates seem to set cash payments or bond amounts $330 higher for black men than white men and add stricter qualifications, for example, collateral property, for Hispanics and black men. One reason for Hispanic arrestees receiving less lenient treatment could be the higher perceived flight risk among undocumented immigrants. Whether black males suffer from outright animus or statistical discrimination over the probability of flight or culpability is a question we cannot reliably address with these data alone. (132)

Felony DWI charges and prior DWI convictions predict bail/bond amounts. As we expect, defendants charged with a felony DWI must overcome significant barriers to release, with bond amounts set about $8000 more than for non-felony arrestees. (133) In addition to the index offense, a prior DWI conviction also significantly increases the set bail amount by about $240. When we account for the fact that some of these conditions are cash payments versus bonds in Column 3, more restrictive pretrial release conditions lead to monotonic increases in the monetary value of the release condition.

Despite the fact that the use of public defenders versus court-appointed counsel is exogenous to the individual defendant, (134) the decision to appear pro se or pay for representation merits some exploration. The first notable feature of Table 5 is the robustness of the odds ratios across all specifications. (135) Reading across the rows for each race/gender group, black and Hispanic men are much more likely than white defendants of either gender to "choose" public or self-representation. (136) Black men are almost twice as likely as white men not to retain private counsel, whereas white women are almost indistinguishable from their male counterparts. (137) The estimates in Column 4 include all relevant explanatory variables yet essentially tell the same story as the parsimonious model in Column 1. (138) The most interesting result is that felony DWI charges dramatically increase the likelihood of public counsel or pro se representation. Even after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics--which unsurprisingly show that higher income reduces the odds of public or pro se representation--defendants charged with the most serious offense do not seek assistance from the private bar.

A prosecutor's decision to withdraw or never pursue charges opens the door to even more unobserved heterogeneity, primarily regarding the quality of underlying evidence or office priorities among different sorts of crimes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Corrections for Racial Disparities in Law Enforcement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.