Spohn and Spears’s study of sentencing decisions in sexual assault cases

Spohn and Spears’s study of sentencing decisions in sexual assault cases revealed that judges imposed the harshest sentences on African Americans who sexually assaulted whites (strangers or nonstrangers) and on African Americans who sexually assaulted African American strangers. They imposed much more lenient sentences on African Americans who sexually assaulted African American friends, relatives, and acquaintances and on whites who victimized other others (strangers or nonstrangers). How would you explain this pattern of results?

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