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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

November 2017 Archives

Report finds that black offenders often get harsher sentencing

Civil rights groups in Washington and around the country have long alleged that African Americans receive disproportionately harsh treatment in the criminal justice system. A report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Nov. 14 suggests that these claims have merit. The independent agency, which is part of the judicial branch of the federal government, studied the sentences handed down to black and white men convicted of the same crimes between 2012 and 2016. They found that African American males received sentences that were, on average, 19.1 percent longer.

Rap star faces DUI following drag-racing incident

A popular rap star is facing DUI and other charges following a traffic incident on Nov. 3. Authorities say that Willie Maxwell, who is perhaps best known by music enthusiasts in Washington as Fetty Wap, was allegedly drag racing another vehicle at approximately 1 a.m. when he was pulled over by New York City police. Information regarding the second vehicle has not been released.

Actor Christopher McDonald facing second drunk driving charge

Washington residents may know Christopher McDonald from his performances in films such as "Thelma and Louise" and "Happy Gilmore", but it is not the 62-year-old character actor's thespian talents that media outlets have been discussing. McDonald was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in 2013 while visiting North Carolina, and media outlets are reporting that he is now facing a second DUI charge after crashing his car in California on Oct. 28.

Race and poverty influence plea deals offered to defendants

When a defendant agrees to a plea bargain in Washington, the decision is final and it will mean a criminal conviction of some sort. Prosecutors determine the terms of plea deals, and people who lack the means to pay for bail typically accept them because they'll generally get to go home if the charges are misdemeanors.