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Civil Rights and Discrimination

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Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford Jan 2006

Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article addresses the question of the appropriate response of appellate counsel for Black defendants tarred at trial by the indirect deployment of powerful racial stereotypes. The crux of the problem is that even now, the courts only take exception to blatant racist appeals, even though indirectly racist summations can have a determinative impact at trial. In laying out the contours of the problem, we must draw upon the discipline of rhetoric, or persuasion through oration, to describe various techniques of intentional indirectness that prosecutors use to obviate the possibility of appellate review under the stringent standards of the Fourteenth …


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 …