This article will address specifically the relationship between race and credibility in legal cases, while acknowledging that broader bias issues are often, though sometimes imperceptibly, intertwined in racially biased credibility determinations. Part I will survey race and credibility issues that have arisen in courts, with particular focus on two modern habeas corpus cases. Part II will summarize the legal rules that presently regulate racially influenced assessments of credibility; it may surprise some readers to realize that there is no established mechanism for challenging racially biased credibility determinations. Part I will propose some standards for determining when race is permissibly used in credibility determinations and some mechanisms for enforcing those standards. Although my sources and primary concern in this article are criminal cases, most of what follows has relevance to civil cases as well, albeit to a lesser extent.
Sheri L. Johnson,
The Color of Truth: Race and the Assessment of Credibility,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol1/iss2/1