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Statistics could show racial bias in stash-house stings

How would you feel if you knew your home could be invaded by the police just because you were black, Asian or Muslim? How would you feel if you were subjected to bias on a daily basis? You'd probably want someone to do something about it.

Statistics made their way to the U.S. District Court in Chicago to address this issue. The statistics are being used to determine if drug stash-house stings performed by the federal government were racially biased or motivated in any cases between the 1990s and today.

Who is reviewing the case data?

There is a nine-judge panel for this case. If the nine-judge panel finds that the stings were racially biased, there are over 40 people would could find themselves free from prison. This case hitting the courts in Chicago isn't the first time there have been questions about the legitimacy of sting operations, but this group of federal trial judges has decided it's time to get some answers.

Competing statistics make it a little difficult to know if the stings were discriminatory. One defense expert claimed that the data clearly shows that it's Hispanics and blacks who are overrepresented in the data. A government witness claimed that the way the man understood the statistics was incorrect and that his methodology was wrong.

Why does this case matter to you? The way it turns out affects the entire country. If the statistics do show racial bias, courts around the country could change how they handle similar claims of discrimination in stash-house cases. It could mean someone you know goes free.

Source: The Roanoke Times, "Dueling statistics used at hearing on racial bias in stings," Michael Tarm, Dec. 15, 2017

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