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Acquittals

Civil Rights and Discrimination

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Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow Oct 2009

Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This article is the first to analyze a pervasive and unexplored constitutional problem: the rights of crime victims against unconstitutional discrimination by juries. From the Emmett Till trial to that of Rodney King, there is a long history of juries acquitting white defendants charged with violence against black victims. Modem empirical evidence continues to show a devaluation of black victims; dramatic disparities exist in death sentence and rape conviction rates according to the race of the victim. Moreover, just as juries have permitted violence against those who allegedly violated the racial order, juries use acquittals to punish female victims of …