THE IMPACT OF THE ETHNICITY AND GENDER OF DEFENDANTS ON THE DECISION TO REJECT OR DISMISS FELONY CHARGES

Cassia Spohn, JOHN GRUHL, SUSAN WELCH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Scopus citations

Abstract

While social scientists have long been interested in the issue of racial and sexual discrimination within the criminal justice system, they have concentrated on the decisions to convict and sentence and have paid relatively little attention to the decision to prosecute. This study examines the issue of pretrial discrimination by focusing on the prosecutor's decision to reject or dismiss charges against black, Anglo, and Hispanic male and female defendants in Los Angeles. The data reveal a pattern of discrimination in favor of female defendants and against black and Hispanic defendants. Hispanic males are most likely to be prosecuted fully, followed by black males, Anglo males, and females of all ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-192
Number of pages18
JournalCriminology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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