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Juvenile court judges’ pretrial decisions: Does race matter?

13 December 2013


Overrepresentation of minorities within the justice system is an on-going, nationwide problem (Harris, Steffensmeier, Ulmer, & Painter-Davis, 2009; Mooradian, 2007; Pope & Leiber, 2005). Despite increasing attention and efforts to reduce this problem, research regarding disproportionate minority contact, especially within the juvenile justice system, is lacking. This study was a replication and extension of a study completed by Freiburger, Marcum, and Pierce (2010), who examined the impact of race on pretrial sentencing decisions in an adult population. The present study was conducted with a juvenile population, with some modifications from the original study. The results did not find race to have a significant impact on pretrial sentencing decisions, which was inconsistent with the study being replicated. Possible explanations for this inconsistency, as well as limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


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