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How implicit racial bias can affect outcomes in court

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2020 | Blog, Dui & Traffic Offenses, Family Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Some people in Georgia might face implicit racial bias in court that leads to an unfair conviction. According to an assistant federal public defender who wrote a paper for the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, there are steps that attorneys and judges can take to reduce the likelihood that this will happen.

The paper suggests that attorneys should be aware of the possibility of their own implicit racial biases and should make certain they are using objective standards to prioritize cases. During jury selection, jurors and judges can talk about implicit racial bias and reduce the likelihood that it will happen. This could include having potential jurors share their own experiences with race or requiring jurors to take the Implicit Association Test. Jury instruction can include asking the jurors to set aside their own prejudices and stereotypes in reaching a verdict.

In some cases, it may be possible to suppress some evidence before the trial if it can be shown that the police officer was racially biased. This might be determined through witness accounts or by looking at arrest records. There is also evidence that identifications made across races may be unreliable. Defense attorneys may use a strategy of building a narrative about their client that encourages the jury to see the person as an individual instead of a stereotype.

People who are facing drug-related charges, assault charges or other types of charges may want to contact an attorney to discuss a strategy for defense. This might include looking at the potential for racial bias or whether the individual’s rights were violated in some other way. For example, the officer may have conducted an illegal search or failed to read the person’s rights. A criminal defense attorney might also look at the reliability of any witness accounts and whether forensic evidence was handled safely.

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