Challenging Jurors' Racism

42 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2021 Last revised: 1 Sep 2021

See all articles by Monnica Williams

Monnica Williams

University of Ottawa - Department of Psychology

Sonya Faber

Angelini Pharma

Dana Strauss

University of Ottawa, Students

Sophia Gran-Ruaz

University of Ottawa, Students

Amy Bartlett

University of Ottawa, Students

Maria Macaluso

University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Students

Joseph La Torre

University of Ottawa, Students

Ariana R. Levinson

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: August 11, 2021

Abstract

Despite overwhelming documentation of disproportionate arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of Black Americans and the many psychological tools available to assess racism and implicit bias, antiracist jury selection remains an understudied area of research. An evidence-based jury selection process is an urgent need, particularly due to the historical and ongoing racial bias within this process. This article attempts to assist judges and attorneys in their efforts to select an impartial jury by equipping them with a better understanding of different forms of racism (e.g., overt, covert, symbolic, aversive) as well as providing an introduction to insightful psychometric tools that can be used to prioritize the selection of antiracist jurors and identify those who hold implicit and explicit biases or others who are likely to be impartial in their assessment of the case. Attorneys have tended to focus on a person’s race or self-reported attitudes to identify racism in potential jurors, but these approaches do not effectively identify aversive racists, who need to be asked direct questions about their behaviors rather than their attitudes. Likewise, efforts to identify racial justice allies amongst potential jurors should be employed to identify people who are able to approach their jury duty in a courageous anti-racist manner. Some tools discussed include the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS), Symbolic Racism Scale 2000 (SR2K), Modern Racism Scale (MRS), Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), Black-White Implicit Association Test (BW-IAT), and the Interpersonal Racial Allyship Scale (IRAS). We also propose a novel questionnaire created by the authors that is specifically designed to differentiate racial justice allies from aversive racists. We hope this article will help to inform the development of a more robust system to select antiracist jurors, and ultimately help to create a more just American legal system.

Keywords: jury selection, challenge, peremptory, voir dire, questionnaire, racism, implicit, implied, antiracist, aversive, allies

Suggested Citation

Williams, Monnica and Faber, Sonya and Strauss, Dana and Gran-Ruaz, Sophia and Bartlett, Amy and Macaluso, Maria and La Torre, Joseph and Levinson, Ariana R., Challenging Jurors' Racism (August 11, 2021). Gonzaga Law Review, Forthcoming, University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3903327

Monnica Williams

University of Ottawa - Department of Psychology ( email )

Canada

Sonya Faber

Angelini Pharma ( email )

Dana Strauss

University of Ottawa, Students ( email )

Ottawa
Canada

Sophia Gran-Ruaz

University of Ottawa, Students ( email )

Ottawa
Canada

Amy Bartlett

University of Ottawa, Students ( email )

Ottawa
Canada

Maria Macaluso

University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Students ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

Joseph La Torre

University of Ottawa, Students ( email )

Ottawa
Canada

Ariana R. Levinson (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

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