Judges in Florida say politics don’t impact their rulings – that their age, gender and culture don’t either.
by The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Josh Salman
December 20, 2016
But their sentencing records show that’s not true.
Personal biases influence those who wear the robe – contributing to racial disparities in sentencing, a yearlong Herald-Tribune investigation using public records found.
Democratic judges are more evenhanded than Republicans.
Black judges are more equitable than whites, and women are fairer than men. “Everyone has an agenda,” said Philip Padovano, a retired appellate judge in Florida. “We are kidding ourselves if we think we don’t.”
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune analyzed millions of criminal cases from the past 12 years to build a first-of-its- kind database of Florida judges, comparing sentencing patterns on everything from their age and previous work experience to their race and gender.
The newspaper concentrated on third-degree felonies – the least serious and broadest class of felonies – and pulled voter rolls in each Florida county to determine the political registration as of September of every judge occupying the nonpartisan position. [READ MORE]