How Do Judges Think About Racial Disparity

If you read a lot of academic literature about courts and the criminal justice system, you painfully learn that brevity and quickly getting to the point are not a staple of most of that literature…and so we either don’t read it or we quickly stop reading it. Racial disparity is an issue this Court and our nation needs to deal with.

So, an article entitled, “How Judges Think About Racial Disparity,” is something all of us should be interested in reading. It draws upon 59 interviews with judges in a Northeastern state. The first  ten pages are a challenge…but, if you read them, you read it all. For those of you who took the Evelyn Wood speed reading courses, these initial pages will be a breeze.

The authors consider how judges understand and deal with four specific situations:  arraignment, plea hearings, jury selection, and sentencing. The article discusses noninterventionist and interventionist strategies for dealing with racial disparity.

This is my personal take on the article:  It made me think in a structured way about how I approach this issue and how I should approach this issue. 

The article may be found here.  This is an issue and an article that hopefully will generate some comment.


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