Prosecutors resorting to racial prejudice is the topic of a column written by Professor Bennett Gershman in Huffington Post. Citing passages from earlier cases, Prof. Gershman writes about a current case the United States Supreme Court refused to review and the manner in which the prosecutor’s conduct has gone undisciplined by the Office of Professional Responsibility. The decision not to review the case provoked comments by Justice Sotomayor who was joined by Justice Breyer.
“‘By suggesting that race should play a role in establishing a defendant’s criminal intent,’ Justice Sotomayor wrote, ‘the prosecutor here tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our nation.’ The prosecutor by arousing the jury’s deep-seated prejudice sought to manipulate the jury to decide against the black defendant not because he was guilty but because of he was black. The prosecutor thereby incited the jury, as Justice Sotomayor noted, to substitute racial stereotype for evidence, and racial prejudice for reason,” writes Prof. Gershman.
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