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Friday, October 14, 2016

Blind prosecutions

Former guest Prawfs Shima Baughman and her co-authors have a piece on TNR (originally published in The Conversation) calling for making police reports race-blind as a way to reduce implicit bias in prosecutors. Interesting read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 14, 2016 at 01:23 PM in Criminal Law, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


Strikes me as the kind of suggestion that is totally unworkable. In a huge number of cases, the prosecutor has to know a description of the defendant in order to know the strength of the case. (If the victim said he was assaulted by a white teenager approximately 6' tall, then the defendant's race matters a lot in determining whether you have the wrong guy or whether a weak ID makes it a weak case.). Race also comes out in assessing the defendant's odds at motion practice. To know whether a photo ID procedure was any good, you have to look at the pictures and decide whether the array/sequence was suggestive -- and in assessing the permissibility of an arrest, you have to compare the person stopped to the description given.

This reads like the kind of proposal that comes from law professors thinking that life is like the hypotheticals in exam questions -- not from those with experience in real criminal law.

Posted by: Ludicrous | Oct 16, 2016 10:56:54 PM

So, we have contrivedly fuzzy descriptions of perpetrators because Social Justice. Thanks guys.

Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 14, 2016 1:33:24 PM

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