Does Race Or Gender Make A Difference In Criminal Law?

I picked up the paper this morning and read two articles in the OC Register’s Local section about DUI related cases. What I found was the disparity of how cases are handled and the punishments handed down.

One was a man who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and hit and run. The defendant/driver was at a cemetery with a friend drinking at the friend’s father’s gravesite. When he left the cemetery he was driving his Cadillac Escalade erratically, causing two vehicles to swerve out of his way and one of those vehicles hit Graham Green, the gentleman on the motorcycle. Mr. Green died the following day. This man had a blood alcohol level of .23 and no prior criminal history.

The other case was a woman who was driving under the influence, made an unsafe lane change, collided with a vehicle and rolled her sports utility vehicle into a ravine. In this case, the driver’s 90 year-old father was killed. This defendant driver had a blood alcohol level of .11 and no known criminal history.

One case went to trial and the defendant lost. The other case was a negotiated plea agreement by the OCDA’s office. One person is going to prison for 7 years and the other person is going to county jail for 30 days. One defendant is Named Hugo Lopez and the other Jeanne Chidester. Which person do you think is going to prison?

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