Reducing Juror Bias by Openly Discussing Race

A recent paper says that talking about race during the course of a trial could lead to a lower level of juror bias. During the jury selection process, attorneys in Georgia and elsewhere should talk about the potential impact an implicit bias could have on a person’s ability to evaluate evidence. They should also make opening statements that caution jurors to not make assumptions based on race or other preconceived notions that they may have about a defendant.

It may be possible to point out that the officer who took a defendant into custody has a track record of mistreating minorities in the community. Legal representatives may be able to use an officer’s file as evidence to support this claim. An expert witness may be able to talk about how cross-racial identifications may be unreliable as evidence in a criminal case.

Attorneys should take steps to ensure that their clients come across as human beings whom a juror can empathize with. For example, a client can be described as a family man or a mother who works two jobs to support her children. This may help create a connection between the juror and defendant, and this connection might result in an acquittal at the end of the trial. Legal representatives are also encouraged to take steps to ensure that their own biases don’t impact a case.

A criminal defense attorney may take a variety of steps to help a person obtain an acquittal or plea deal. For instance, an attorney may claim that evidence was obtained illegally or placed at a crime scene by an officer. It may also be possible to have a case thrown out on appeal by having expert witnesses testify that a person was treated unfairly because of his or her race.

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