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Columbia Law School

2006

Equal protection

Criminal Law

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Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing And Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests In New York City, 1989-2000, Bernard E. Harcourt, Jens Ludwig Jan 2006

Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing And Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests In New York City, 1989-2000, Bernard E. Harcourt, Jens Ludwig

Faculty Scholarship

The pattern of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City since the introduction of "broken windows" policing in 1994 is remarkable. By the year 2000, arrests on misdemeanor charges of smoking marijuana in public view (MPV) had reached 51,267 for the city, up 2,670 percent from 1,851 arrests in 1994. In 2000, misdemeanor MPV arrests accounted for 15 percent of all felony and misdemeanor arrests in New York City and 92 percent of total marijuana-related arrests in the State of New York. In addition, the pattern of arrests disproportionately targeted African-Americans and Hispanics.

In this paper, we ...