Over the last two decades, state and federal task forces have investigated reports of bias in the courts. Although overall the condition of the courts is positive, several jurisdictions have discovered instances of disrespectful treatment, disparate resources, and unequal sentencing patterns. With qualitative and perceptual data well examined, the challenge now is to understand if disparate treatment extends to case outcomes and, if it does, to explain why the disparities exist. This article sketches a new agenda for judicial research, presenting a methodology for quantitative inquiry and laying out the types of data that must be collected to evaluate disparate treatment in case outcomes. The article also discusses a recent pilot study in New Mexico and offers recommendations to courts to institutionalize assessment.
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