Law Offices of Thomas C. Mooney - Criminal Defense
Call Today for a FREE Consultation 301-579-3429

Challenging implicit racial bias in court

When some people face Maryland criminal charges, they may have to deal with the unconscious weight of racial bias and stereotypes from juries and even judges. Research shows that black defendants continue to receive higher prison sentences and are more likely to be held in pre-trial detention. According to many scholars, these results could be explained by implicit bias, a form of racial prejudice that relies on the unconscious perpetuation of social stereotypes rather than conscious choices to discriminate against members of a particular race. One of the key characteristics of implicit racial bias is that it remains unspoken and unexamined.

Therefore, some criminal defense lawyers and scholars have proposed that implicit bias can be challenged in the courtroom by drawing specific attention to the potential racial dynamics involved in a case. Implicit biases may be less likely to influence decision-making when they are made explicit. For example, a defense attorney could ask a judge to provide specific jury instructions in which jurors are reminded to consider only the facts and evidence in the case, rather than stereotypes, biases or personal like or dislike for the parties. Because implicit bias relies on stereotypes, lawyers may also benefit from highlighting the individual stories of their clients, distinguishing them as unique individuals with concerns, problems and close relationships.

Of course, racial bias can pose a threat not only in jury deliberations but also in many other aspects of the criminal justice system. Defense lawyers may be able to challenge police racial profiling leading to a stop and search or question the reliability of a cross-racial witness identification.

Racial bias may continue to play a role in conviction and sentencing for many people facing criminal charges. A criminal defense attorney may work with clients to protect their rights and aim to prevent a conviction.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Maryland Association For Justice The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers National Association of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent Top Lawyers This is to certify that Thomas C. Mooney has been chosen as a top lawyer in Washingtonian Magazine in 2015
Super Lawyers

Contact Us

14750 Main Street, Suite C
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Phone: 301-579-3429
Fax: 240-363-0051
Upper Marlboro Law Office Map