November 30

Looking Criminal and the Presumption of Dangerousness

The Hon. Mark W. Bennet, U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Iowa, and Dr. Victoria C. Plaut, a social psychologist and Professor of Law and Social Science
and Director of the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations Lab, UC Berkeley
School of Law, have recently published an article addressing the historic presumption of dangerousness that Whites routinely apply to Blacks in America.

“STEREOTYPING BLACKS AS CRIMINAL, VIOLENT, AND DANGEROUS IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN AMERICA’S HISTORY AND INTRACTABLY ENTRENCHED IN OUR CULTURE AND PSYCHE”

This is one more reason why selecting a fair and impartial jury for a Black defendant charged with a serious crime in Vermont, the state with the second highest percentage of white people (95.2%), is so incredibly difficult and frustrating. Potential jurors are reluctant to admit to any explicit bias, much less an implicit bias against a Black defendant.

If you think you do not have any implicit bias, I suggest you take the Project Implicit test at the Harvard University website: here.

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October 2

Clean State Clearinghouse

The Clean State Clearing House (available here) is an online resource providing expungement and sealing information in all 50 states. The site will help individuals with criminal records connect with pro bono legal service providers.

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