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Misdemeanor Justice Project (LA)

This project summarizes trends around misdemeanor arrests, filing outcomes, and disposition outcomes in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2017.


This study, and others produced by the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice, seeks to inform policy and discourse at the local, state, and national level on the role of misdemeanor enforcement in supporting public safety, trust and confidence in the criminal justice system, and racial equity. CPL supported this work by providing access to data used for analysis.

Research Project

Status: complete

Using data supplied by the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office covering the years 2001-2017, this report summarizes the trends, demographics, and charges of misdemeanor arrests as well as filing decision and disposition outcomes at the prosecution stage.

Research Team

Professor Michael Lens (Co-Principal Investigator), Professor Michael Stoll (Co-Principal Investigator), Yiwen Kuai


By 2017, arrests declined by roughly 50% from an observed high in 2008, resulting in an overall decline in misdemeanor arrest rate over the entire study period (2001-2017).   Several other trends were identified as well including:

  • A much slower drop in misdemeanor arrest rates for women compared to men
  • A dramatic drop in juvenile arrests 
  • Persistent racial disparities in misdemeanor arrests
  • Similarity in arrest trends compared to other large California counties and statewide

Read the full report

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