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Don’t Mind If I Take a Look, Do Ya?

Scott at Grits for Breakfast has been covering the racial profiling report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.
The results are interesting in a number of ways — clearly there is some racial profiling going on in Texas, but as Scott notes, there’s also one heck of a lot of searching going on, regardless of race.
Take San Antonio. Of those stopped in traffic stops, 26.7% of blacks, 20% of hispanics, and 9.3% of whites have their car searched. And of those searches, 14-18% actually turn out to have contraband of some kind.
That’s a lot of innocent searches. Not the way I envision the intent of the 4th Amendment. That’s more like going fishing with a net — if we search enough cars, eventually we’ll find something. Personally, I think if you can’t have an 80% success rate or better, then you’re casting too wide a net. You’d think 50% at a minimum. But 18%? Any other job, you get fired for that kind of inefficiency.
Interesting report. Hope they continue to collect the information and get better, more complete information (I would have liked to see more actual numbers rather than just percents and rates). I also hope they follow through with this recommendation:

Consent searches contribute significanly to racial disparities and cannot be easily explained by legitimate factors such as probably cause or existing warrants. The Texas Legislature should ban consent searches and only allow searches when there is a legal basis.

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