Racial bias still rampant in the criminal justice system

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
January 21 2015

The Upshot: Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions

“The deaths of African-Americans at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Mo., in Cleveland and on Staten Island have reignited a debate about race. Some argue that these events are isolated and that racism is a thing of the past. Others contend that they are merely the tip of the iceberg, highlighting that skin color still has a huge effect on how people are treated. Arguments about race are often heated and anecdotal. As a social scientist, I naturally turn to empirical research for answers. As it turns out, an impressive body of research spanning decades addresses just these issues – and leads to some uncomfortable conclusions and makes us look at this debate from a different angle….The criminal justice system – the focus of current debates – is harder to examine this way. One study, though, found a clever method. The pools of people from which jurors are chosen are effectively random. Analyzing this natural experiment revealed that an all-white jury was 16 percentage points more likely to convict a black defendant than a white one, but when a jury had one black member, it convicted both at the same rate.”

[Ventura County, California criminal defense lawyer and State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman provides defense of cases involving oppression leveled against activists and hacktivists and all types of cases involving civil rights, political dissent, emerging tech issues in the courts, freedom on the internet, fighting against unjust systems, governmental and prosecutorial overreach, and overall injustice. Jay fights for the underdog. Jay is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA) and is also a lifetime member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ). He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts.]