Implicit bias research indicates that despite our expressly endorsed values, Americans share a pervasive bias disfavoring Black Americans and favoring White Americans. This bias permeates legislative as well as judicial decision-making, leading to the possibility of verdicts against Black defendants that are tainted with racial bias. The Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado provides an ex post remedy for blatant racism that impacts jury verdicts, while jury nullification provides an ex ante remedy by empowering jurors to reject convicting Black defendants when to do so would reinforce racially biased laws. Both remedies exist alongside a trend limiting the role of the jury and ultimately indicate that we trust juries to keep racism out of the courtroom in the exceptions to our normal procedures.
Fairness in the Exceptions: Trusting Juries on Matters of Race,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol23/iss1/6