Posted on April 30, 2024

Admitting Crime Rates Differ by Race Is Racist, According to a California Judge

Hans Bader, Liberty Unyielding, April 26, 2024

A judge in Orange County, California ruled that it’s racist to believe that crime rates differ by race, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that crime rates differ by race, and the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics has specifically noted that the black homicide rate is higher than the white homicide rate.  This may reflect the false left-wing dogma that crime rates don’t differ by race, and that blacks are incarcerated at a higher rate than whites due to “overpolicing.”

The Orange County judge disqualified a San Diego judge from hearing cases under California’s Racial Justice Act, citing his statement that “There is absolutely no evidence that… the proportion of persons in an ethnicity committing a crime must be the same as the proportion of the population.” In her ruling, Judge Cheri Pham decided that “From his comments, a person aware of the facts could reasonably believe that Judge Shore believes certain racial or ethnic groups commit more crimes than others.” Never mind the fact that certain racial and ethnic groups do in fact commit more crimes than others.

It is hard to reconcile Judge Pham’s ruling with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 8-to-1 decision in United States v. Armstrong (1996), where the Supreme Court said there’s no “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, since that presumption is “contradicted by” real world data. The Supreme Court in that case rejected a claim that more blacks being prosecuted showed racism.

It is also hard to reconcile her decision with the Supreme Court’s 6-to-3 ruling noting that it is “completely unrealistic” to think that in the absence of racism, minorities will be represented in a field “in lockstep proportion to their representation in the local population.” (See Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989)).

Under the logic of Judge Pham’s ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court is racist, and should be barred from hearing cases involving racial bias or black defendants.

Contrary to Judge Pham’s assumption, there’s plenty of evidence that crime rates differ, including from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, which noted that rates of committing homicide “for blacks were more than 7 times higher than the rates for whites” between 1976 and 2005, in its publication, Homicide Trends in the United States. In 2019, 6,425 black people committed homicide, compared to only 4,728 white people, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

Arrest rates for different races reflect their crime rates, not — for the most part — racism by the police. A 2021 study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that although blacks are arrested for serious nonfatal violent crimes at much higher rate than whites, this mostly reflected underlying crime rates, not racism: “white and black people were arrested proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime overall and proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime reported to police.” (See Allen J. Beck, Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018).

The fact that the black percentage of people arrested was similar to the black percentage of perpetrators of “crime reported to police” is telling, because the people who report violent crimes to police — mainly crime victims — are disproportionately black people themselves. Since victims are overwhelmingly the same race as their attacker, there is no reason to think that they are reporting those crimes out of racism. Most crimes against black people are black-on-black, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Most violent incidents against white (69%) and black (66%) victims were committed by an offender of the same race or ethnicity as the victim,” reported the BJS in “Criminal Victimization, 2020 – Supplemental Statistical Tables.” According to FBI data, 89 percent of blacks who were murdered in 2018 were killed by black offenders.

Other studies have also found that the criminal-justice system is not racist in most of its applications, as a 2024 meta-analysis of the criminal justice system found. The RAND Corporation statistical expert Dr. Stephen P. Klein, a left-leaning researcher, looked carefully at California’s state criminal justice system and, controlling for relevant variables, found that criminal sentencing in California was racially fair and non-discriminatory, overall, and that blacks and whites in California who were similarly-situated got very similar sentences. (See Stephen P. Klein, et al., “Race and Imprisonment Decisions in California,” 247 Science 812 (1990)).