Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2164797
 
 

Footnotes (250)



 


 



Self-Defense and the Suspicion Heuristic


L. Song Richardson


University of California, Irvine School of Law

Phillip Atiba Goff


UCLA Department of Psychology

October 1, 2012

Iowa Law Review, Vol. 98, p. 293, 2012
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-4

Abstract:     
The doctrine of self-defense evaluates the reasonableness of criminality judgments. Yet, it fails to account for how non-conscious cognitions place those who are stereotyped as criminal at greater risk of mistaken judgments of criminality — sometimes with deadly consequences. Studies reveal, for example, that people are more likely to see weapons in the hands of unarmed black men than unarmed white men, and to more quickly shoot them as a result. Because self-defense doctrine does not attend to these judgment errors, it fails to interrogate how, if at all, these mistakes should affect assessments of reasonableness. Drawing from powerful and well-established mind sciences research, this Essay introduces a concept that we term the “suspicion heuristic.” This concept explains how non-conscious processes can lead to systematic and predictable errors in judgments of criminality — and influence subsequent behaviors — regardless of conscious racial attitudes. This Essay argues that in order to provide more equal protection, security, and liberty to all victims of violence, the law of self-defense should account for the suspicion heuristic in its assessments of reasonableness. This Essay traces the broad outlines of a theoretical and legal framework for doing so.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: Self-Defense, Duty to Retreat, Stand Your Ground laws, Implicit Racial Bias, Implicit Social Cognition, Heuristics and Biases

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: October 21, 2012 ; Last revised: January 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Richardson, L. Song and Goff, Phillip Atiba, Self-Defense and the Suspicion Heuristic (October 1, 2012). Iowa Law Review, Vol. 98, p. 293, 2012; U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-4. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2164797

Contact Information

L. Song Richardson (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )
401 E. Peltason
Irvine, CA 92612
United States
Phillip Atiba Goff
UCLA Department of Psychology ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563
United States
310 206-3481 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 706
Downloads: 184
Download Rank: 96,654
Footnotes:  250
People who downloaded this paper also downloaded:
1. Implicit Racial Bias in Public Defender Triage
By L. Song Richardson and Phillip Goff

Paper comments
No comments have been made on this paper

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.360 seconds