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The Champion

June 2018 , Page 36 

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How Defense Attorneys Can Eliminate Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice

By Nazgol Ghandnoosh

I. Introduction

Why did Judge Aaron Persky not sentence Stanford University student-athlete Brock Turner to longer than six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman? Why was Texas teenager Ethan Couch, characterized as suffering from “affluenza,” sentenced to only probation for a drunk driving accident that killed four people? Why was Dylann Roof, who was eventually convicted of killing nine individuals at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, taken into custody unscratched and served a fast-food meal?

These cases have acquired a high profile because many believe that these individuals’ whiteness, and in some cases wealth, contributed to their relatively favorable treatment. In contrast, Henry Montgomery, whose Supreme Court case gave juveniles sentenced to mandatory life-without-parole a shot at resentencing, was denied parole in Louisiana after serving 54 years for killing a sheriff’s deputy. Kalief Browder, who was held for over a thousan

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