Most Racial Violence Civil Rights Cases Not Prosecuted
(23 Jul 2013) Since George Zimmerman was acquitted in Florida state court of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin, there has been significant public speculation as to whether the federal government would pursue civil rights charges; one possibility would be a charge categorized as racial violence. According to the latest available data from the Department of Justice, as of May 2013 a total of 11 convictions for racial violence civil rights violations have been obtained by federal prosecutors so far in FY 2013.

Not all referrals to federal prosecutors for civil rights offenses involving racial violence go forward with an actual prosecution. During the current fiscal year, federal prosecutors have closed three-quarters (76%) of these referrals without taking any court action. By comparison, the turn-down rate for prosecutions of all civil rights cases in the current fiscal year is 81 percent.

However, federal prosecutors usually obtain convictions in those cases they decide to prosecute. The 11 defendants convicted of racial violence so far in FY 2013 represent 92 percent of all prosecutions completed for this offense. For civil rights cases in general, 88 percent of defendants have been convicted.

For more details, including a timeline of such prosecutions since 1995, see the report at:
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