Implicitly Unjust: How Defenders Can Affect Systemic Racist Assumptions
50 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 16, 2014
This paper discusses the power of implicit racial bias (IRB) in driving unjust, racially disparate outcomes in our criminal justice system and examines the role of the defender committed to racial equality. The paper examines how IRB influences the decision making of every player in the system, including the defense lawyer, and offers strategies for how defense counsel can address IRB while simultaneously living up to his or her obligations to each client. The paper suggests a three prong approach for the defender: 1) working to overcome his or her own biases, 2) developing strategies to educate others in the system about their biases at every stage of the process, and 3) finding ways to sustain him/herself in the face of intolerable injustice in order to help build a more just system.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation