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Civil Rights and Discrimination

Michigan Law Review

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Black Innocence And The White Jury, Sheri Lynn Johnson Jan 1985

Black Innocence And The White Jury, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Michigan Law Review

Racial prejudice has come under increasingly close scrutiny during the past thirty years, yet its influence on the decisionmaking of criminal juries remains largely hidden from judicial and critical examination. In this Article, Professor Johnson takes a close look at this neglected area. She first sets forth a large body of social science research that reveals a widespread tendency among whites to convict black defendants in instances in which white defendants would be acquitted. Next, she argues that none of the existing techniques for eliminating the influence of racial bias on criminal trials adequately protects minority-race defendants. She contends that …