The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has published numerous articles relating to a study the newspaper did reviewing crimes in Florida from 2004 through 2015. According to the Herald-Tribune, “The investigation revealed that blacks are more likely to be found guilty than whites in Florida; they are more likely to spend time behind bars; their sentences are usually longer; and they are not given as many opportunities to avoid incarceration through pretrial diversion.”
The Herald-Tribune found that conservatives were generally harder on blacks than Democrats, with GOP judges sentencing blacks to 21 percent more time in jail or prison than white defendants busted on third-degree felonies. One judge who defied those numbers, however, was Dennis Murphy, a registered Republican who is a judge for the 11th Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County.
“That’s something I try to take to heart and apply to cases across the board,” Murphy told the Herald-Tribune. “Does this sentence fit with what I have been doing? Does it fit the crime? Does it fit the others I have given out? I try to give each case individual consideration. I am trying not to do this in a vacuum.”