Criminal Justice Gaetz, S. (July


Survey respondents were California and New York residents and are composed of an ethnically-diverse sample, with the inclusion of white Americans, black Americans, Hispanics, and other members of minority groups.

Since the study is one of the pilot studies that attempt to provide an empirical description and explanation of racial profiling, it is important to discuss how the variables used in the study will have a bearing on future studies about the topic. The first phone-in survey, which was conducted in California, involves a description of incidences of racial profiling among the respondents and the establishment of the sample's general profile or socio-demographic characteristics. The second survey was a New York youth telephone survey, and is more in-depth in its scope compared to the first phone-in survey in California. The second survey probed deeper into the phenomenon of racial profiling, including, among its independent variables, the following: prevalence of profiling, justification for profiling, police disrespect, and demographics of the sample.

The third phone-in survey was a conducted through mail and centered on the respondents' views and judgment about the New York Police Department's (NYPD) performance, efficiency, and the respondents' perceived conduct of racial profiling in the said police force. Since this survey is more specific in its scope, it contained variables that directly points at important factors that affect respondents' perception and judgment of occurrences of racial profiling when confronted with a member of the NYPD. In addition to the previously used variables in the earlier surveys, the NYPD survey included respondents' perceptions of race-based harassment, trust in the police authority, quality of decision-making, quality of interpersonal treatment, and the most important variable for the study, the aspect of police distributive justice. The fourth survey, an NYPD phone-in survey, provided a holistic treatment of all the variables included in the first three surveys.

Tyler & Wakslak's research is useful for future studies that aim to study the activity of racial profiling. One important advantage of the researchers' series of surveys is the strong conceptualization of the study prior to the data collection process, giving these studies strength in terms of validity and reliability. This is perhaps one of the most important guideline that every researcher on racial profiling should remember: there must be a careful research on the topic in order to come up with concepts and variables that will describe concretely and clearly the different manifestations in which racial profiling may take place, in accordance to the respondents' experiences. It is important to cover all possible factors and concepts that the respondents possibly have in mind when the issue of racial profiling is discussed. Through careful conceptualization, the issue of racial profiling will be successfully discussed through empirical evidence; only then that an active discussion on policy issues regarding racial profiling shall be opened up, giving more opportunities for this activity to be deterred and eventually eliminated.

Huff, C.R. (January 2004). Wrongful convictions: the American experience. Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice.

In this study, Huff centers his research in discussing extant literature about the prevalence wrongful convictions in the United States in the midst of DNA technology serving as evidence for convictions and the role that mass media coverage plays in influencing the propensity of U.S. courts to wrongfully convict innocent individuals.

Huff cites seven (7) causes why wrongful convictions happen in the country: wrongful convictions may be caused by eyewitness error; overzealous or unethical police and prosecutors; false and coerced confessions and improper interrogations; inappropriate use of jailhouse informants, or "snitches"; ineffective assistance of counsel, forensic errors, incompetence, and fraud; and the adversarial nature of the country's justice system towards suspects of crime and offense. In response to the crisis, the government has set up organizations and commissions that aim to alleviate the detrimental effects of wrongful convictions to suspected (yet innocent) individuals. Efforts were put into implementing the Innocence Protection Act, creating innocence projects and innocence commissions, and the researcher's proposal to repeal the death penalty.

It is evident that there are other issues still left untouched by Huff's analysis of wrongful convictions in the U.S. However, despite this shortcoming, his article becomes a significant study in the domain of criminal justice in that it allows the public to have an "inside look" at the realities that the justice system of the country is far from being perfect. The flaws of the system does not end upon the delivery of the verdict; in fact, the flaw goes on to include wrongful convictions, the result of flawed investigations and procedures adopted by the system and law enforcement groups and agencies. Huff presents an issue that requires a clearinghouse of the country's justice system. The seriousness of the issue of wrongful convictions cannot be asserted more: rejection of the problems that plague America's justice system will cost more than one innocent life and the continuous peril the civil society is under as, as the author warns, there are still "offenders who remain free while the wrongly convicted are sent to prison" (107).

Demuth, S. (August 2003). Racial and ethnic differences in pretrial release decisions and outcomes: a comparison of Hispanic, Black, and White felony arrestees. Criminology, Vol. 41, Issue 3.

This journal article takes a look at how racial stereotypes and social disadvantages vary across three races, white Americans, Black Americans, and Hispanics, particularly at the event where there is a criminal case process decision making to be done. These criminal case process decision-making activities include pretrial release decisions and outcomes.

Demuth's study shows that among the three races, both black and Hispanic defendants have greater odds of being detained; however, between the two, Hispanics have the greatest odds of being detained (91%) than black defendants. Similar results are found when statistics showed that prevention detention occurs mostly among Hispanics, wherein black defendants came in only second, and white defendants, a far third. In terms of financial and non-financial release, "Hispanic defendants are significantly more likely to receive a financial release option (versus a nonfinancial release option) than white or black defendants." This is parallel with the finding that Hispanic defendants also have the highest bail amount required.

These findings point to the fact that racial stereotypes persist in the reinforcement of social disadvantages across members of the three races. Evidently, in terms of pretrial decisions and outcomes, white defendants fared comparatively well than black and Hispanic defendants. The study emphasizes how racial differences plays a big role in future studies of the criminal justice system, where the researcher asserts that "each group has unique experiences" in criminal case processing and other similar procedures related to it.

Felson, R. et. al. (August 2002). Reasons for reporting and not reporting domestic violence to the police. Criminology, Vol. 40, Issue 3.

Felson et. al.'s research utilized the National Crime Victimization Survey as its primary instrument in determining, assessing, and measuring the factors that lead to reporting (or not reporting) incidences of domestic violence. Survey findings show that there are three primary factors that are significantly relevant in inhibiting victims to reporting domestic violence to the police: "the desire for privacy, the desire to protect the offender ... And fear of reprisal."

The NCVS survey findings illustrate how the prevalence and continuous occurrence of abuse and domestic violence, especially among females, is still a social problem that needs unwavering attention by the government and civil society. New findings such as hesitance of male victims to report on their victimization reflect the changing nature of domestic violence in American society. In the same way that females need protection through the dissemination of proper and useful information about domestic violence, males are also in need…