Social Solidarity and Sentencing Disparities Between Ethnic Groups: The Case of Hit-and-Run Traffic Offenses
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming
Posted: 29 Aug 2019 Last revised: 1 Sep 2019
Date Written: May 27, 2019
Studies of sentencing disparities show that in sentencing for cross-race or cross-ethnic violent offenses, minority defendants are likely to be sentenced to harsher punishments when the victim belongs to the majority group. Our study examines whether the same pattern of sentencing discrepancies is to be found with regard to offenses of omission, the prohibition of which imposes a legal duty to come to the aid of a victim; offenses which are based on social solidarity. The dataset includes all cases in which defendants were convicted of hit-and-run traffic offenses in Israel from 2001 to 2013. The surprising results show that hit-and-run drivers who belong to either the majority or minority ethnic group are likely to be sentenced to more severe punishments when the victim belongs to the same ethnic group than when the victim belongs to a different ethnic group.
Keywords: sentence disparity; social solidarity; hit-and-run traffic offenses; minorities; ethnicity; race
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