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More Blacks Imprisoned Under '3 Strikes,' Study Says

Penal system: Incarceration rate for 'third strike' is 13 times higher than it is for whites, activist group reports. But prosecutors charge that the survey is flawed.

March 05, 1996|GREG KRIKORIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

But based on information received from those district attorneys, the study says, 82 of 1,586 prosecutors in those offices--or 5%--are African Americans. The study says 82% are white and 8% are Latino.

Moreover, the study says, in Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento counties, more than 90% of the supervisory prosecutors are white, while 5% are Latino and 2% are black. Those counties, the study says, account for more than 50% of the "two strike" and "three strike" inmates in California.

But Totten of the district attorneys association took issue with the study's assumptions and conclusions.

"Prosecutors are ethically bound to be colorblind in making decisions on filing cases. So we strongly disagree with the . . . report," Totten said. "And we feel . . . like so many reports that come out of this group, they focus exclusively upon the defendants" and not the victims of crimes.

"Prosecuting these cases, we know a great number of the victims are minorities," Totten said. "So it is completely disingenuous on their part to suggest some kind of bias. . . . They should know better."

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