Prosecuting the Jena Six
24 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2008
This Essay explores the racial norms animating the prosecution of the Jena Six in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, a set of norms I will call Jim Crow legal ethics. By Jim Crow ethics, I mean the professional norms of practice in a time of de jure or de facto racial segregation. The Essay evaluates the prosecution of the Jena Six against three conceptions of professional norms applicable to the criminal justice system: District Attorney Walters's colorblind conception, David Luban's dignitary conception, and a difference-based, outsider conception. Part I describes the legal and political history of the Jena Six. Part II considers the prosecution of the Jena Six under District Attorney Walters's colorblind conception of prosecutorial discretion. Part III analyzes the same prosecution under Luban's dignitary conception. Part IV revisits that prosecution in light of a race-conscious outsider conception favoring dignity-restoring relations over identity-degrading and community-disempowering relations.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation