Bias in Legal System

«The big idea here is that everyone has prejudices,» Marshall says. «As a profession, we try to identify it, recognize it and find some kind of solution to disrupt it.» Similar biases can infect legal proceedings. For example, research has shown that an accused`s race, perceived attractiveness, friendliness, and nervous behavior can affect conviction rates and length of conviction. The voice and behavior of a lawyer, as well as the way evidence is presented, can mislead jury members into trusting information they shouldn`t or ignoring important clues in a case. And lawyers` backgrounds will lead them to weigh the evidence from a biased perspective, no matter how many times a judge asks them to act impartially. This leads Benforado to make a radical suggestion: that experiments should perhaps not be conducted in person at all, but should take place remotely, using avatars for the people involved. In this way, he suggests, irrelevant details could be removed and justice could be better served. Why should lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and other members of the criminal justice system bother with the abA and Pew Research studies? By creating and maintaining policies that allow such racial differences to exist in its criminal justice system, the United States is violating its obligations under Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure that all its residents – regardless of race – are treated equally before the law. The Sentencing Project notes that the United Nations Special Rapporteur is endeavouring to consult with American civil society organizations on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance. We welcome this opportunity to provide the United Nations Special Rapporteur with an accurate assessment of racial differences in the United States criminal justice system.

The United States should develop and deliver training to mitigate the influence of implicit racial bias at all levels of the criminal justice system: police, public defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, jurors, and parole boards. Although it is difficult to completely eliminate racial bias at the individual level, studies have repeatedly shown that it is possible to control the effects of implicit racial bias on individual decision-making.59)See, for example, Ashby Plant & Michelle Peruche, The Consequences of Race for Police Officers` Response to Criminal Suspects, 16 Psy. Sci. 180, 183 (2005) (finding that repeated training of police officers in computer simulations eliminated racist bias of shooters and that the effects were still present 24 hours later); Jeffrey J. Rachlinski et al., Does Unconscious Bias Affect Trial Judges?, 84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1195, 1210 (2009). In other words, while it may be impossible in current U.S. culture to ensure that individuals are cognitively colorblind, it is possible to train individuals to be behaviorally blind.60)Jerry Kang & Kristen Lane, Seeing Through Colorblindness: Implicit Bias and the Law, 58 UCLA L.

Rev. 465, 466 (2010). The United States should work with leading implicit bias researchers to develop the most effective training programs, and combine this with surveillance and accountability systems to reduce the impact of implicit racial bias. «We are committed to using the scientific information we uncover and examining how it affects our assumptions in the law,» Levinson adds. You may have the same behavior and profile, but if you have changed color, gender, or sexual orientation, people from different groups will draw conclusions and analyze the results differently, whether it`s a jury, a judge, or those in the system. And that`s a problem for us as a profession.â The U.S. criminal justice system is the largest in the world. More than 6.7 million people at the end of 20151)U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Correctional Populations in the United States, 2015, 2 tbl. 1 (Dec.

2016). were under some form of prison control in the United States, including 2.2 million in federal, state, or local prisons and prisons.2) U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2016, 3 tbl.2 (Jan. 2018), and Jail Inmates in 2016, 2 tbl.1 (Feb. 2018). The United States is a world leader in its incarceration rate, dwarfing the rate of almost every other country.3)See International Centre for Prison Studies, World Prison Brief (2018). In addition to pursuing measures that bring little benefit in the fight against crime and impose high costs on people of color, policymakers and criminal justice leaders have been too much in dealing with discriminatory measures for which they provide no justification – such as the biased use of officer discretion and income-driven policing. «As lawyers, we all like to believe that we are a country that is based on the rule of law and that the rule of law is applied fairly in all parts of society,» Marshall says. «But we`ve had enough recent events in recent years to realize that without good faith, the justice system works for everyone.» Little has changed, even with the realization of racial bias implicit in the criminal justice system,» says Sarah Redfield, a law professor at the University of New Hampshire. Expert and trainer in implicit biases for diversity and inclusion. Redfield, who edited the ABA book «Enhancing Justice: Reducing Bias» in 2017, moderated the recent webinar Equal Justice: Confronting Bias Within the Criminal Justice System.