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Forensic testimony is often racially biased

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

If you have believed that forensic testimony in cases involving people of color in Georgia is biased, you could be right. Your feelings may point to the broader truth that people of color are still discriminated against in the state’s legal system.

Racial bias is rampant in forensic testimony

Many people automatically believe that forensic evidence will help their criminal defense case. However, a recent study called “Perpetuating the Presumption of Guilt: The Role of Implicit Racial Bias in Forensic Testimony” indicates that government experts in trials are often susceptible to implicit racial bias. Your supposedly neutral expert witness may have been fed information about your racial status and other facts that could instill bias against you.

According to an article in the Criminal Law Bulletin, forensic experts are often given irrelevant contextual information about a lead suspect like name, race and background. That information often leads forensic experts to draw an erroneous conclusion about someone’s guilt, resulting in implicit racial bias. The article’s authors noted that several recent exonerations of defendants who were wrongfully convicted illustrate the subjectivity of forensic testimony. Instead of helping defendants of color, forensic testimony is subject to racial bias in a way similar to DNA prototyping and facial recognition technologies.

What happens if forensic evidence is used in my case?

Until the legal system reforms policies governing forensic practitioners, your legal professionals must be doubly diligent in ensuring that your civil rights have not been violated through implicit racial bias. Your defense team should remain diligent about how information about your case is presented to experts so that implicit racial bias doesn’t occur.

If irrelevant contextual information is given to experts, your defense can discover that through cross-examination in court. Doing so can install the seeds of doubt in jurors’ minds if that testimony is not in your favor. Racial bias is still alive in the American legal system. Mounting an aggressive defense against it in addition to your charges could make a difference in the verdict you receive.