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May 15th - Lecture #4.doc

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Nicole Myers

May 15 th SOC219 Lecture #4 Bail, Courts, and Juries Why Have Concerns on Racial Profiling? - those who attribute stops to ‘profiling’ (race, age, sex) are less willing to accept the stop as legitimate - racial minorities are more likely, when stopped, to view it as a result of a profile - support for police undermined by belief that they engage in simple profiling - those who see the police as being polite, respectful, and acknowledging of rights are less likely to view stop as a result of profiling - police maintain legitimacy – exercising authority fairly - probably more complex than simple prejudice Law Enforcement Priorities - study in Seattle, Washington - drug arrests – blacks (increasingly) were over-represented o 1980: blacks were 650/100k while whites were 350/100k o 2000: blacks were 2709/100k and whites were 463/100k - explanations offered: o differential drug use o differential visibility o differential enforcement - data: different drug use – over-representation of blacks with crack; whites with methamphetamine - buy-and-bust arrests: disproportionately on crack - estimates on street: crack is 1/3 of transactions but ¾ of arrests - racial differences and over-representation arses from the choice of drug used – feeds into the definition of the drug problem o why did the police see crack more important than meth  crack – black people drug, meth – white people drug One Suggested Solution to the Profiling Problem: Random Stops - fairness o it should be fair – random sampling – every nth person gets picked for a search - ‘targeted’ stops may not be that efficient - some areas – terrorism – in which careful calculations are being made, may be more effective to do random searches o profiling assumes statistical accuracy o profiling may be ‘out of date’ (ex. people, methods) - profile wrong more time than right – but is it more effective? o if we did random searches for every nth person, are we comfortable stopping a grandma or child? - problem: some instances may make no sense but need to carry though with the search Some Critical Decisions in the Prosecution Process - the decision to proceed criminally after being charged with an offence o violence against woman spouses o prosecutorial discretion o alternatives to the prosecution process - bail - how to proceed in court - criminal process is not a single set automatic/sequential steps o no script o discretion at each stage - many decisions are involved in the CJ process – each of which raises interesting/important questions - seldom is there a simple single policy outcome - clearance rate: the proportion of criminal incidences that have been solved by the police Responding the Men’s Violence Against Inmate (Female) Partners - how should the police and Crown Attorney respond to wife-assault cases? o compare hitting with a pillow to hitting with a pipe - concerns to think about: o woman’s (victim’s) wishes o ‘equal treatment’ – state vs. victim interests o effects on re-offending o importance of ‘fair treatment’ – what this means about the legitimacy of the system, what the system asks them to do, what they are asked to do The Challenge of Assault Against Women by Spouses or Spousal Equivalents - how should police respond to domestic violence o stopping current violence o separating partners o refer one or both to some (social, counselling) service  ex. how you can engage in your anger, personal counselling, explore other options in how to solve marriage problems – violence in their relationship o counsel parties o charge offender - history: from ‘not a police problem’ to ‘mandatory charge’ (and no drop) policies o moved into quasi-mandatory police  police discretion – reasonable probable grounds to believe  violence goes both ways – no longer just a man beating a female – but both beating • how do you know who is operating in self defence – who instigated it - if they cant figure it out, they just o by the time this comes to trail, the victims will lie to protect their partner, not go to court, drop the statement Preferences of Women’s Victims of Spousal Assault (studies in 3 countries) - may call police to get offender to stop, taken away, warned (not necessarily to begin a full criminal process) o don’t want them to get charged - desire for arrest: related to poverty of victim and previous rate of offending, offence severity o if the breadwinner of the house goes to jail who provides for your kids and family o what if he has done this before - Ontario study: many women not even thinking of arrest o thinking of protection, emphasizing to offender seriousness of offence, access to services, stopping the assault - sometimes want arrest but not prosecution – ex. hold over night and then drop charges - problem of ‘costs’ to others of prosecution – offender retaliation Women’s Ability to Predict Future Violence - one justification for allowing ‘victim choice’ o women know whether it is likely to occur again - ability of women predict future offending o interviewed women o statistical models o follow up in 4 months - results o women’s own predictions are better than any formal measure “Protective” Impact of Reporting to the Police - survey of U.S. women over 3 year period - representative sample of wife-assault victims - asked: were the police informed about the incident o then followed up in 6 months for a follow up - results: o repeat victimization rates – higher if police were not informed  protective effect of making police aware  first offenders/victims: 5% repeat for those whose spouses reported it to the police, 10% if not  repeat offenders/victims: 22% repeat for those whose spouse reported, 35% repeat for no report  no effect of who reported – spouse or someone else • there was something about the police being there on having an impact on likely being offended again • why? Presence of police coming in and becoming involved has some value/ability in reducing victimization o seems like reporting violence in and itself has a deterrent effect Effects – Arrest/Prosecution and Repeated Domestic Violence - 1985 study – and follow-ups: what is the best policy (recidivism) o relatively less serious (misdemeanour assaults) o offender arrested or spoken to/warned, etc. o carried out by police on a random basis – charge/no charge equivalent o no simple benefit to victim of arrest policy – for lower level assaults - other research – protective orders – ex. peace bonds o comparison of arrest, protective orders, both o results – 2 year follow up – no differences - conclusion: type of legal intervention may not be that crucial o would society tolerate them if different groups asked for different things  if we don’t have a uniform – the  same results across the board no matter what the intervention was – spoken to, charged, arrested – same outcome Should There Be Mandatory Policies? - institutional – decision maker – risk – don’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing – if a rule governs the decision - is equal treatment by the law the only consideration? - problem of victim participation – has nothing to do with it – just bringing it up as what if o assessing true wishes  maybe they are being coerced – the victim is standing right there o should she be responsible - collateral consequences of prosecution to victim and others o what about other cases – ex. non-spousal assault – in which victims prefer or do not prefer to have their offender charged? o ex. drunk – hit each other – would a mandatory policy work here? Do we care about the victim’s choice? The Decision to Prosecute: An Example From the Past - solicitor general of Canada had an affair while he was married and the woman, who was also married, got pregnant - she applied and secured permission for a legal abortion in Ottawa o application insisted she obtain the signature of her husband – but since this was an affair, she could not do so – so Fox signed the name of her husband - problem arises on how to proceed o should there be a charge brought out against Fox? o equality before the law? o practise of getting husband to sign form is an unwritten hospital practise, not a legal requirement o in the interests of the public, administration of justice would not serve well by prosecution – identities would become public and the woman involved would also have to be charged
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