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Should an ESL Witness Testify Through an Interpreter?

When presented with a witness who speaks English as a Second Language (ESL), it is difficult to predict how they will be perceived by a jury.  In a previous post, we examined the challenges of identifying juror bias against foreign witnesses, but that raises a separate, yet related issue as to whether that witness is […]

Are Jurors Biased Against Foreign Witnesses?

To say that America has a complicated relationship with “foreignness” would no doubt be an understatement.  After all, the vast majority of us have relatives or ancestors who immigrated to the United States at some point in time (I, myself, am a first-generation citizen).  Yet, there remains a great deal of political controversy and social tension between Americans and the foreign born (or […]

Is there Juror Bias Against Female Attorneys?

Gender bias is often outside of conscious awareness and is implicit, meaning that it can occur in stark contrast to one’s consciously held explicit beliefs. Banaji & Greenwald (2002) posited that such social behavior is not completely under our conscious control but, rather, is driven by learned stereotypes that operate automatically or unconsciously when we […]

Grutter v. Bollinger and the Behavioral Effects of Implicit Bias

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Grutter v. Bollinger, a case brought by a law school applicant who was denied admission at the University of Michigan.  The student, who was Caucasian, believed she had been wrongfully denied admission because of the law school’s admissions criteria, a composite of many academic and achievement-oriented variables.  In addition, […]

PART II: Detecting and Overcoming Implicit Bias

We have all been there during jury selection, listening to a juror tell the court that they have a bias that may prevent them from fairly considering the evidence when a judge steps in and asks the juror to “set your bias aside.”  More often than not, the juror is pressured to acquiesce that they […]

PART I: Implicit and Explicit Effects of Bias in the Courtroom

With the election and inauguration of our nation’s first biracial President, some have questioned whether the United States has finally quashed its ubiquitous problems with racial bias.  Though Americans have made tremendous progress in their acceptance of differences, social psychological research indicates we aren’t there yet.  The study of bias has gone “underground,” examining how implicit attitudes […]