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A Systemic Problem in Yolo County

 

There seems to be systemic problems in Yolo County regarding the number of weak cases that get prosecuted, and the dramatic increase of minorities being arrested for sexual crimes.

The percentage of felony complaints that are prosecuted in Yolo County are the highest in the state (99.4%) and almost 20% higher than the state average. While it may appear at first glimpse that Yolo County’s numbers reveal a just fight against crime, the statistics show that Yolo County tends to prosecute almost all felony complaints no matter how weak the case is, even if there is no evidence to substantiate the complaint.

Only about 3% of the cases prosecuted in Yolo County are acquitted. The following is just one example of weak cases the Yolo County District Attorney’s office has tried to put forth. In 2006, the District Attorney’s office in conjunction with Judge Fall tried to charge Khalid Berny 170 counts of at-large goats (goat trespassing), which included a $102 fine per goat and up to 60 years in prison (for more information see news article). To view other examples click here.

See graph below (Statistics from the California Department of Justice):

Year

Percentage of Complaints Filed that are Prosecuted by Yolo County

Percentage of Complaints Filed that are Prosecuted in California

2000

98.8%

83.2%

2001

99.1%

81.4%

2002

99.6%

82.3%

2003

99.6%

83.2%

2004

99.7%

84.4%

2005

99.4%

84.6%

2006

99.5%

83.9%

2007

99.1%

84.1%

Average

99.4%

83.4%


Another conspicuous trend in Yolo County is the significant rise in the number of minorities that have
been arrested for sexual crimes. After 2002, there was a dramatic increase in the number of minorities (average of 52% increase) arrested for rape in Yolo County. At the same time there was a dramatic decrease in the number of whites (average of 48% decrease) arrested for rape. Upon further review the statistics are more compelling after you calibrate the total population makeup of Yolo County. Then prejudicial arrests are even more glaring. Consequently, in 2007 (the last year of published records) 80% of all arrests in connection with alleged rapes where associated with minorities who makeup only 42% of the population in Yolo County.

 Yolo County Arrests for Rape (statistics from the California Department of Justice)

Year

Total Arrests

Whites

Minority

% Whites

% Minorities

2000

22

12

10

55%

45%

2001

21

11

10

52%

48%

2002

20

5

15

25%

75%

2003

23

4

19

17%

83%

2004

14

6

8

43%

57%

2005

19

5

14

26%

74%

2006

15

5

10

34%

66%

2007

10

2

8

20%

80%


Source of information: www.yolocounty.org

When comparing the rape arrests in Sacramento County to Yolo County for the same period of time, you see an interesting phenomenon. Although Sacramento County minority rape arrests are, on average, higher than Yolo County's, its arrest rates have stayed relatively the same percentage for the last seven years. Only in Yolo County has the increase in minority rape arrests skyrocketed and white rape arrests have dropped so dramatically.

Sacramento County Arrest for Rape (statistics from the California Department of Justice)

Year

Total Arrests

Whites

Minority

% Whites

% Minorities

2000

120

36

84

30%

70%

2001

144

42

102

49%

61%

2002

42

11

31

39%

71%

2003

124

43

81

35%

65%

2004

112

27

85

24%

76%

2005

90

24

66

27%

73%

2006

78

18

60

23%

77%

2007

68

23

45

44%

66%

Although the percentage of minority rape arrests in the State of California are, on average, higher than in Yolo County for the years 2000 thru 2007, the number of arrests for alleged rapes involving minorities has stayed relatively stable. However, when focusing on Yolo County specifically, arrests involving minorities for alleged rapes has increased dramatically between the years 2000-2007, while arrests for alleged rapes involving whites have declined.

State of California Arrests for Rape (statistics from the California Department of Justice)

Year

Total Arrests

Whites

Minority

% Whites

% Minorities

2000

2702

694

2008

26%

74%

2001

2730

687

2043

25%

75%

2002

2549

592

1957

24%

76%

2003

2456

603

1864

24%

76%

2004

2237

515

1722

23%

77%

2005

2098

489

1609

24%

76%

2006

2122

479

1643

23%

77%

2007

2164

495

1669

21%

79%

A smaller percentage of minorities live within Yolo County than in Sacramento County or the State of California. Nevertheless, in both 2003 and 2007, 83% and 80% respectively, of those arrested for rape in Yolo County, were minorities. These percentages are significantly higher than in any given year from 2000-2007 in both Sacramento County and the State of California.


Discrepancies in the percentages of arrests and successful prosecutions for alleged rapes in Yolo County compared with the State of California should be analyzed and assessed from a funding perspective.

a.   Why would the District Attorney's office decide to prosecute all their complaints—weak cases too?

b.   Why is there such a dramatic increase in minority arrests for sexual crimes in Yolo County? What we found is disturbing.

It was found that around this same time (2002) the Yolo County District Attorney's office became the recipient of a significant amount of grant monies related to crimes for statutory rape and violence against women (see chart below). Checking the criteria for continuing funding with one of the grants, Violence Against Women Vertical Prosecution, it was found that the objective is to obtain more arrests, trials and convictions for statutory rape and violence against women cases.

The language contained within the Plan and Implementation section of the syllabus of the program emphatically states:

Objective A :

During the first year of funding, increase prosecution and conviction rates of violent crimes against women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as measured by the total number of defendants anticipated (or projected) to be prosecuted and/or convicted by the project. Maintain these increased rates for the second and third year of funding.

Although it is a noble goal to reduce violence against women, the Yolo County District Attorney's office seems to be trying to take credit for fighting crime by deciding to push cases with no evidence and cases where no investigation has been done to see if these accusations have merit through prosecution, stacking up the charges and utilizing unethical means to get convictions. If they are targeting minorities more because they might not have the means to fight back against these weak cases, then discrimination may also be playing a role.

It is interesting to note, that with county budgets in California being extremely tight, Yolo County District Attorney's office allotments of monies for this particular crime has increased. Below is a graph of the Budget records we have been able to confirm since 2003 to current. We were not able to check the budget records prior to 2003; however we have been able to confirm that the grants started being distributed in 2002. Check this website for more detail. http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=1413 Go to County Budget for whatever year you want. Then go to Law and Justice. 2003 is the earliest budget that is available.

Money Given to Yolo County District Attorney's Office for Statutory Rape and Violence Against Women

Year

Statutory Rape

Violence Against Woman

Total

2008

185,327

203,715

389,042

2007

158,411

237,146

395,557

2006

158,301

198,589

356,890

2005

144,588

186,136

330,724

2004

124,471

166,008

290,479

2003

122,153

192,063

314,216

Total

893,251

1,183,657

2,076,908

Yolo County has a higher percentage of arrests of minorities for rape than the Sacramento County or the State of California, yet it has a lower percentage of minorities in its population.

Next another county that is also receiving the Violence Against Women Vertical Prosecution grant was looked at to see if the grant is affecting their minority arrests for sexual crimes. Sutter County was chosen because it has similar demographics as Yolo County (55% white and 45% minority) and is receiving the same amount of money from the grant as Yolo County. Here's what we found.

Sutter County Arrests for Rape (statistics from the California Department of Justice)

Year

Total Arrests

White

Minorities

% Whites

% Minorities

2000

4

3

1

75

25

2001

4

2

2

50

50

2002

4

2

2

50

50

2003

11

3

8

27

73

2004

8

5

3

62

38

2005

4

1

3

25

75

2006

4

3

1

75

25

2007

10

4

6

40

60

There is NOT a pattern of minorities being targeted for sexual crimes in Sutter County like there is in Yolo County . The numbers don't lie. There is a serious situation existing in Yolo County. These trends show the disregard for human rights and justice being solely motivated by prosperity, both personal and towards the Yolo County District Attorney's budget. It is also apparent that prosecution of minorities is typically a calculated effort due to the lack of resources to expose the injustice or properly defend themselves, thus they are targeted by the Yolo County District Attorney's office.