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Republican-appointed judges sentence black offenders to 3 months longer on average than whites: study

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A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Republican-appointed judges on average give black Americans sentences that are three months longer than those given to white convicts.

In a paper released this month, researchers Alma Cohen and Crystal Yang concluded that a judge’s political ideology can impact the sentencing of non-white criminals.

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“In sharp contrast to the prior literature relying on court-level variation, we find economically meaningful and statistically significant evidence that judge political affiliation is a source of disparities in federal sentencing,” the authors explained. “We find that Republican-appointed judges give substantially longer prison sentences to black offenders versus observably similar non-black offenders compared to Democratic-appointed judges within the same district court.”

“The racial gap by political affiliation is 3.0 months, approximately 65 percent of the baseline racial sentence gap,” the paper observed. “We also find that Republican-appointed judges give female defendants 2.0 months less in prison than similar male defendants compared to Democratic-appointed judges, 17 percent of the baseline gender sentence gap.”

The authors noted that much of the gap in sentencing is “largely driven by serious drug and violent offenses, and cannot be fully explained by other observable judge characteristics such as judge race, gender, former prosecutorial experience, or proxies for racial bias.”

“We also find larger racial and gender gaps among judges who serve in courts from states with higher racial bias, which are disproportionately located in the South,” the researchers said.

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The study concludes:

These results indicate that the appointment of federal judges can have profound distributional effects on the criminal justice system, in particular because the federal criminal justice system is the source of the largest and fastest growing prison population (Congressional Research Service 2013), with federal judges making tens of thousands of sentencing decisions a year. Our estimates suggest that a ten percentage point increase in the share of Republican-appointed judges in each court would increase the racial sentencing gap by approximately five percent and the gender sentencing gap by roughly two percent.

In President Donald Trump’s first year in office, the Senate confirmed a dozen of his district court judge nominees, more than any president since Congress created circuit courts with the 1891 Judiciary Act.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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El Paso hospital forced to call out Trump’s lie that surgeons left the operating room to see him

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President Donald Trump bragged that he got an overwhelming welcome from Ohio and Texas when he went to visit survivors of the mass shootings before his latest vacation. Now, however, El Paso's University Medical Center is being forced to dispute the president's account of events.

"Not only did they meet with me, they were pouring out of the room. The doctors were coming out of the operating rooms. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all over the floor. You couldn’t even walk on it. So, you know, there’s a lot to happen," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News ripped to shreds by media analyst for running state-news network briefing for Trump

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Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple unleashed hellfire on former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News for hiring her to deliver the White House spin for the president on their air.

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He cited the greatest hits from the Huckabee-Sanders show that happened less and less frequently from the White House podium. He included everything from the time she doctored a video of CNN's Jim Acosta to accuse him of assaulting a White House intern to her accusation of "fake news" to every question she didn't like.

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Brutal new recession indicator: Manufacturing sector contracts for the first time in a decade

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Warning signs keep piling up that the American economy is slowing down, if not headed for an outright recession.

CNBC reports that IHS Markit's U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index this month contracted for the first time since September 2009.

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