CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 10, 2020

Goncalves on Reducing Implicit Bias for Latinxs

Walter Gonçalves (Federal Public Defender, Dist. of Arizona) has posted Narrative, Culture, and Individuation: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Race-Conscious Approach to Reduce Implicit Bias for Latinxs (Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2019) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Implicit bias scholarship in the context of criminal justice lacks analysis on Latinxs. This problem persists even though Latinxs form the largest percentage of federal criminal defendants, a growing percentage of state defendants, and 17.6% of the United States population. Scholars such as L. Song Richardson, Jonathan Rapping, and Robin Walker Sterling have written on implicit bias, but their research arises from representation of African-Americans in the south and in urban areas. There is no focus on Latinxs or Latinxs in the southwest in the federal system. Moreover, arguments by these scholars miss the role of client culture in reducing implicit bias. This article presents research on implicit bias based on Latinxs, a historic and contemporary picture of Latinx misrepresentation in the media, and demonstrates how defense lawyers can use Latinx narratives, client culture, and individuation to reduce implicit bias within the criminal courts. The analysis spans pre-trial motion practice to trial and sentencing. The paper is also the first discuss how culture can reduce implicit bias in criminal justice.

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