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How racial bias may affect bail judges

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2018 | Criminal Defense

Virginia residents may be interested in a study that examines the role race plays in the decisions made by bail judges. According to the study, bail judges, whether they are white or black, seem to show bias against defendants who are black.

According to one study, black defendants are 2.4 percent more likely to be detained while they wait for their court hearings as opposed to their white counterparts. White defendants will pay around $7,281 less than black defendants for bail.

These figures may suggest that both black and white bail judges are influenced by racial stereotypes when deciding whether or not a defendant will commit another crime when they are released. The truth is that many white defendants are just as likely, if not more likely, than black defendants to get arrested following their release. It appears that some judges have a race-based bias leading them to believe that black defendants pose a higher danger when released as opposed to white defendants.

A study published in 2018 that used machine learning techniques showed that bail judges are often wrong in predicting which defendants will re-offend or attempt escape if released on bail. Another finding of interest from the study includes statistics that seem to show that Miami judges have a higher racial bias than those in Philadelphia. It seems that inexperienced judges or judges who serve on a temporary basis are more likely to do worse at predicting defendant behavior than more experienced judges.

A criminal defense attorney may work to help their clients have the best outcome when they are before a judge. Criminal defense attorneys may represent guilty individuals as well as innocent individuals who have been wrongfully accused of a crime at any stage of the justice system. It doesn’t matter if an individual is at the criminal investigation stage or if they have recently been released from prison; an attorney may help them better understand their options.