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Most African-Americans feel the criminal justice system is unfair

The criminal justice system in Texas and around the country has been harshly criticized in recent years for its treatment of minorities, and the results of a recent Pew Research Center survey suggest that the vast majority of African-Americans feel these criticisms are justified. Almost 9 out of 10 of the African-Americans polled said that black defendants were treated unfairly by police and prosecutors, but only 61% of the white respondents shared this view.

Other Pew Research Center polls have revealed a similar wide disparity between the views held by white and black Americans about how criminal justice is dispensed in the United States. Black respondents tell researchers that they have been stopped by the police because of their ethnicity or race about five times as often as white respondents, and only about a third of them say that the police do a good job and use force appropriately.

Misgivings about the way African-Americans are treated by law enforcement and prosecutors appear to give rise to more lenient views on sentencing and parole. When asked about their views on the death penalty, 59% of white Americans told Pew researchers they supported capital punishment while 34% said they opposed it. African-American views on the subject were almost the exact opposite with 52% opposed to the death penalty and only 36% in favor of it. African-Americans also tend to view the risk assessment algorithms used to make parole decisions with far more suspicion than white Americans.

When representing clients who feel that they have been treated unfairly by law enforcement, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police reports with particular care. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of all Americans, and attorneys may seek to have criminal charges reduced or dismissed when their clients have been denied the protections it provides.

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