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USSC reports highlights sentencing disparities

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When someone is accused of committing a crime, there should be an assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law-this means Louisiana residents have the constitutional right to defend themselves from the criminal charges the prosecutor levies against them. This is not the case though-it is an unfortunate reality that once someone is arrested, most people assume they are guilty and if the person is a black male, they have the decks stacked against them even higher.

According to a report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission-an independent agency of the U.S. Judicial Branch-revealed that black male offenders received sentences 19.1 percent longer on average than their white males in similar situations. The discrepancy could not be explained away by criminal backgrounds. The findings match those of a previous study looking at data from 2007 to 2011, which reported a 20 percent gap in sentences.

The factors that lead to sentencing disparities are complex and cannot only be attributed to the judge's discretion. According to experts, prosecutors have the biggest impact on sentencing-they choose how to charge the offender and whether to plea bargain. Since the sentence has to match the charge, it can even be said that judges are not the biggest factor for the differences.

Understanding how the criminal justice system works is important to creating a criminal defense strategy that would get the best possible outcome for the person accused of committing a crime. Often times, a criminal trial may not be the best option-plea bargains and alternatives may be available and work out better for the accused.

Post Type: Topical

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