Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Larry E. Moss


The purpose of this research is to determine if racial discrimination is evident in the Galveston County Criminal District Courts. This is to be accomplished by focusing on the sentences received by black and white defendants for specific felony offenses during 1979 through 1981. The offenses that are utilized in the study are: capital murder, murder (including voluntary and involuntary manslaughter); aggravated rape, rape; offenses against children including sexual abuse of, indecency with, rape of and injury to; aggravated assault; aggravated robbery, robbery; burglary of a habitation and burglary of a building. Six hundred cases were examined in these felony offenses to provide the basis for the comparisons in the final analysis.

To determine if racial discrimination existed in the Galveston County Criminal District Courts, the following variables were utilized in relation to the effect each has on sentences: the indictment, nature of counsel (i.e., court appointed or retained), plea bargaining, jury trials and dismissals. These variables were chosen to ascertain if the mechanics of criminal court procedures are used for the benefit of all participants of the court, including the defendant.