Implicit Bias in the Courtroom

63 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2012 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012

Jerry Kang

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Mark W. Bennett

U.S. District Court (Northern District of Iowa); Independent

Devon W. Carbado

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Pamela Casey

National Center for State Courts

Nilanjana Dasgupta

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Psychology

David L. Faigman

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Rachel D. Godsil

Seton Hall University - School of Law

Anthony G. Greenwald

University of Washington

Justin D. Levinson

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law

Jennifer Mnookin

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2012

Abstract

Given the substantial and growing scientific literature on implicit bias, the time has now come to confront a critical question: What, if anything, should we do about implicit bias in the courtroom? The author team comprises legal academics, scientists, researchers, and even a sitting federal judge who seek to answer this question in accordance with “behavioral realism.” The Article first provides a succinct scientific introduction to implicit bias, with some important theoretical clarifications that distinguish between explicit, implicit, and structural forms of bias. Next, the article applies the science to two trajectories of bias relevant to the courtroom. One story follows a criminal defendant path; the other story follows a civil employment discrimination path. This application involves not only a focused scientific review but also a step-by-step examination of how criminal and civil trials proceed. Finally, the Article examines various concrete intervention strategies to counter implicit biases for key players in the justice system, such as the judge and jury.

Keywords: implicit bias, IAT, implicit association test, behavioral realism, jury bias, judicial bias, debiasing, police, Iqbal, merit, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Kang, Jerry and Bennett, Mark W. and Carbado, Devon W. and Casey, Pamela and Dasgupta, Nilanjana and Faigman, David L. and Godsil, Rachel D. and Greenwald, Anthony G. and Levinson, Justin D. and Mnookin, Jennifer, Implicit Bias in the Courtroom (March 20, 2012). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 5, 2012; UCLA School of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2026540

Jerry Kang (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-7298 (Phone)
310-206-7010 (Fax)

Mark W. Bennett

U.S. District Court (Northern District of Iowa) ( email )

320 6th St.
Sioux City, IA 51101
United States
712-233-3909 (Phone)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Devon W. Carbado

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-825-3365 (Phone)
310-825-6023 (Fax)

Pamela Casey

National Center for State Courts ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

Nilanjana Dasgupta

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Psychology ( email )

Amherst, MA 01003
United States

David L. Faigman

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Rachel D. Godsil

Seton Hall University - School of Law ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States

Anthony G. Greenwald

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Justin D. Levinson

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

Jennifer L. Mnookin

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

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