Racial Profiling and Jury Trials

The Jury Expert, January 2009

16 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2014

See all articles by Annabelle Lever

Annabelle Lever

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 8, 2009


How should trial experts approach cases of racial profiling? As a British philosopher, albeit one who has lived and worked in the States, all I can offer are some suggestions and some questions to help readers make the most of their expertise. These are motivated by two concerns. First, from a British perspective, American jury selection is alien to our understanding of the ideal that people are tried by ‘a jury of their peers’. In particular, the American practice of selective strikes raises the worry that you cannot consistently ask jurors to evaluate the use of race-based expectations by police when the jury selection process, itself, is shaped by the idea that race is a good predictor of people’s beliefs and behaviour. The second concern is an extension and generalisation of the first, and exemplifies the problems posed by racial profiling: what does it mean to treat people as equals in a world where people are disadvantaged because of their race? I will take these concerns in reverse order, briefly say something about them, and then suggest some approaches to racial profiling that, I hope, will be of practical, as well as theoretical, use.

Keywords: raicial profiling, jury trials, equality, jury-strikes, jury manipulation, privacy

Suggested Citation

Lever, Annabelle, Racial Profiling and Jury Trials (January 8, 2009). The Jury Expert, January 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2507506

Annabelle Lever (Contact Author)

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations ( email )

40 Boulevard du Pont D'Arve
Geneva, Geneve CH 1207

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