An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1985 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. The support of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Committee on Research; the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Research Council; and the National Institute of Justice are gratefully acknowledged.
THE IMPACT OF THE ETHNICITY AND GENDER OF DEFENDANTS ON THE DECISION TO REJECT OR DISMISS FELONY CHARGES*
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 175–192, February 1987
How to Cite
SPOHN, C., GRUHL, J. and WELCH, S. (1987), THE IMPACT OF THE ETHNICITY AND GENDER OF DEFENDANTS ON THE DECISION TO REJECT OR DISMISS FELONY CHARGES. Criminology, 25: 175–192. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00794.x
Cassia Spohn is Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her research interests include ethnic and gender discrimination within the criminal justice system, rape reform legislation, and attitudes toward women in politics. She has grants from the Department of Justice and the National Science Foundation to analyze the impact of rape reform legislation.
John Gruhl is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has published numerous articles on racial and gender disparity in sentencing and other articles on the impact of Supreme Court decisions.
Susan Welch is the Carl Happold Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. With Gruhl and Spohn, she has published numerous articles on sentencing of women and minority defendants. She is currently completing a book on barriers to women in American electoral politics.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
While social scientists have long been interested in the issue of racial and sexual discrimination within the criminal justice system, they have concentrated on the decisions to convict and sentence and have paid relatively little attention to the decision to prosecute. This study examines the issue of pretrial discrimination by focusing on the prosecutor's decision to reject or dismiss charges against black, Anglo, and Hispanic male and female defendants in Los Angeles. The data reveal a pattern of discrimination in favor of female defendants and against black and Hispanic defendants. Hispanic males are most likely to be prosecuted fully, followed by black males, Anglo males, and females of all ethnic groups.