Jack Levin (1941-)
Jack McDevitt (1953-), Gordana Rabrenovic (1957-), Carolyn Turpin-Petrosino (1952-)
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Social Sciences & Humanities, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
prosecution of bias motivated crimes
Sociology, Criminology, Hate Crimes, Prosecution
Criminology | Sociology
Research was collected from the Community Disorders Unit of the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, to determine which bias-motivated crimes are prosecuted and which are not. Additionally, interviews were conducted with 15 Assistant District Attorney's to determine how they socially construct the bias crime cases that do get prosecuted. This exploratory study was conducted to determine what, if any differences exist between 34 bias motivated crimes prosecuted in the city of Boston in 2007-2008 and 34 incidents matched for the same bias-motivation from the Community Disorder Unit. The current research will contribute to the lack of literature which to date has only investigated the law enforcement aspects in identifying such cases, or even fewer studies regarding which cases are most likely to be prosecuted. This exploratory research combines both aspects to determine what, if any differences exist between the prosecuted and non prosecuted cases with respect to the bias-crime, race and age of victims and offenders, injuries to the victim or the weapon used in the incident. In Boston, the overwhelmingly majority of bias-motivated crimes that were prosecuted were personal and not property crimes, committed by white, adult males against black males or other white males because they were perceived to be gay. Results were consistent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported hate crimes, in that the majority of offenses committed were Anti-Black and Anti-Gay male victims. Of the 34 incidents that were prosecuted, the majority was dismissed due to no victim or witness showing in court, or the defendant took a guilty plea. Of the 2 cases that went to trial, they were found not guilty by a jury. To date, there is not a published study combining the police identification and prosecution discretionary procedures in bias motivated crimes. This study is expected to contribute to the literature regarding law enforcement identification and prosecution of bias motivated crimes within the criminal justice system. It is hoped that more effective liaisons for protected groups can be utilized by the District Attorney's Office, and that the DA will be more public about the bias-motivated cases that are prosecuted. Further recommendations include vertical prosecution of bias-crime cases, where the same ADA and judge follow the case from beginning to end.
Stephanie D. Cappadona
Cappadona, Stephanie D., "Which bias crimes get prosecuted? an analysis of bias motivated incidents and prosecutions in the city of Boston, 2007-2008" (2011). Sociology Dissertations. Paper 10. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20001039
Click button above to open, or right-click to save.