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Report shows Washtenaw County more likely to charge Black defendants than whites 

Washtenaw County Courthouse
Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County Courthouse

A new report issued today shows disparities in the way people of color have their cases referred for prosecution in Washtenaw County.

The report from the Prosecutor Transparency Project analyzed cases referred to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office from 2017 to 2022.

Black people appeared in just under 50% of requests for charges despite making up about 12% of the county, while requests for prosecution of whites was 47.8% while making up 70%.

Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit says the next step is to drill down into the findings.

“The researchers ran quantitative, aggregate, regressions to control for factors, like the severity of a case. But what they didn’t do was go through and look at the evidence that is in any particular case.”

The analysis did not find evidence of racial disparities in programs which allows young defendants to avoid a criminal record.

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News Reporter and Host Kevin Meerschaert was a student reporter at WEMU in the early 90s. After another 30 years in the public radio business and stops in Indiana, Maryland, Florida, and New Mexico, Kevin is back to where it all began.
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