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SOC Notes- Week 13- Criminal Justice System.docx

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Colorado State University
SOC 205
Daniel Mc Lane

Criminal Justice System 11/12/2012 4:00:00 PM Amendment 64  Regulate marijuana like alcohol  Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol  Tax Revenue  Personal liberty  8 Romney counties Pro-64  Harmful  Access for youth [increased] Race and 64  108,000 marijuana possession arrests in last 10 years in Co  86% of those arrested 34 years old or younger  Latinos arrested at 1.5x the rate of whites  Blacks arrested at 3.1x the rate of whites  U.S. Government studies show consistently that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young Blacks and Latinos Result of Arrest  Permanent criminal record  Employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies, licensing boards, banks  Barrier to employment and education  Interaction affect with other structural forces Some Considerations  Best way to not get arrested is not to break the law  That said, we can easily observe racial disparities in results of criminal behavior  Throughout the criminal justice system Between 1987 and 2007, the national prison population has nearly tripled. 585,084 to 1,596,127 1 in 149 Americans behind bars (1998) 1 in 100 Americans behind bars (2008) U.S.= 4% of world’s population U.S.= 25% of world’s incarcerated population Street Criminal Profile  Age 15-24: o 24% of populations but 41% of violent crimes, 46% of property ctrimes  Gender 69% male  Race/Ethnicity: o 70% white o Disproportionate black (12.3% of population, approx.. 30% of arrests for property/violent crime) White Collar Crime (Sutherland)  Crime committed by people of high social position in the course of their occupations  Most costly than street crime  Bernie Madoff $65 billion  Average convenience store robbery: $769 Corporate Crime  Illegal actions of a corporation or people acting on its behalf  Dangerous products  Environmental harm  Oppressive labor practices Major Steps in the Criminal Justice Process 1. Definition of Crime  Crimes of the poor: “Index”/”Street” o Robbery 60months 99% o Burglary 28months 89% o Auto Theft 24months 63% Annual Cost: $3.8-19 Billion  Crimes of the Affluent: “White Collar” o Fraud 16months 63% o Tax Law Violation 15months 42% o Embezzlement 9months 58% o Annual Cost $200-$500 Billion 2. Detection of Crime  Street Crime= easier to see [greater outcry from average population- greater pressure on police to solve crime]  Greater fear of street crime/pressure to detect  Racial Profiling o Likelihood of being searched during a traffic stop  Black: 10.2%  Latino: 11.4%  White: 3.5% o NYPD: 89% of traffic stops involved minorities  Whites- 44% of total NYC population  Myths Behind Racial Profiling o Minorities commit the majority of crimes o Minorities are more likely to be involved with illicit drug use  Racial Profiling o Brignoni-Ponce o “Mexican” Appearance to stop for illegal immigrants o Race can be used as a factor as long as it is not the factor o Racial composition of jails as reason to profile o Profile includes style of dress etc. o 1992- 8 out of 10 people of color in Denver were in gang database o Alexander v Sandoval: Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not include private right of action based on disparate impact 3. Decision To Arrest  Police Expectations [generally negative]  Demeanor and self-fulfilling prophecy [responding negatively]  “Black men have been killed by police at a rate some 9 to 10 times higher than that for white men dating back to the 1960’s” 4. Decision to Press Charges in Court, and if so, in what Type of Court  Free?  Diversionary agreement?  Civil or criminal court? 5. Conviction- Guilty or Innocent?  Access to competent legal counsel?  Representation of minorities on juries? 6. Sentencing Disparities  Death Penalty Cases o Blacks who kill Whites 40x more likely to be sentenced to death than blacks who kill blacks o Blacks who kill Whites are 5x more likely to be sentenced to death than whites who kill whites o Regardless of race of the offender, the odds of a death sentence for those suspected of killing white people are about three times higher than those accused of killing blacks  Mandatory Minim
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