Paper examines ways to combat implicit racial basis

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Virginia attorneys might be able to prevent implicit racial bias in their jury trials by openly discussing racial bias. One judge has actually taken the step of talking about racial bias with potential jurors using a PowerPoint presentation before attorneys question them.

This and other approaches to combating racial bias in the courtroom are discussed in a paper in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice written by an Arizona assistant federal public defender. The jury can be instructed to try to set aside their prejudices and biases in making their decision. During voir dire, they may be asked to talk about their experiences with race or could be required to take the Implicit Association Test.

An attorney might make a pretrial motion to keep evidence out of the trial if it appears to have been acquired based on racial bias. This could be established with witnesses or with evidence from the arresting officer’s record. Expert witness could help with allegations that a crossracial identification may be unreliable. Another approach for attorneys is creating a sympathetic narrative for the jurors so that they stop looking at defendants as a stereotype and see them as an individual. Finally, the paper recommended that attorneys ensure that they examine their own tendency toward racial bias and that they try to prioritize cases objectively.

People who are facing felony charges may want to talk to an attorney about the possibilities for defense. An attorney might look at a number of things in addition to the possibility of racial bias including ensuring that the investigation was done correctly and did not violate the individual’s rights. In some cases, instead of going to trial, people may opt for a plea bargain in which they plead guilty and have their penalties reduced.