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Acquittals

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow Feb 2009

Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow

Tania Tetlow

This Article is the first to analyze a pervasive and unexplored constitutional problem: the rights of crime victims against unconstitutional discrimination by juries. From the Emmett Till trial to that of Rodney King, there is a long history of juries acquitting white defendants charged with violence against black victims. Modern empirical evidence continues to show a devaluation of black victims; dramatic disparities exist in death sentence and rape conviction rates according to the race of the victim. Moreover, just as juries have permitted violence against those who allegedly violated the racial order, juries use acquittals to punish female victims of …


Trial Distortion And The End Of Innocence In Federal Criminal Law, Ronald F. Wright Mar 2005

Trial Distortion And The End Of Innocence In Federal Criminal Law, Ronald F. Wright

Ronald F. Wright

This article starts with a troubling and unnoticed development in federal criminal justice: acquittals have virtually disappeared from the system in the last 15 years, and for all the wrong reasons. It seems likely that prosecutors have increased the "trial penalty" so much that defendants with meaningful defenses feel compelled to plead guilty, undermining the truth-finding function of the criminal process.

The article examines these federal developments in light of a proposed "trial distortion theory." The theory I develop here evaluates the quality of plea negotiation practices in a jurisdiction by asking whether the system produces outcomes (convictions, acquittals and …