When examining the demographics of California prosecutors, it is obvious that they do not match the demographics of the state’s inhabitants. That racial divide leads to unfair verdicts, activists claim.
According to a 2015 report by Stanford Law, California has approximately 38% white residents, however, the prosecutors within the state are approximately 70% white. Latinos, who represent another 39% of the population, make up only 9% of California’s prosecutors. A disparity in prosecutors results in a disparity in trial judges as the prosecutors are generally the pool of candidates from which trial judges emerge.
On a more national scale, white individuals make up 95% of all elected prosecutors in the United States.
What is the impact of this racial disparity?
For almost one hundred years, studies have shown that the racial biases and attitudes that one is raised with will likely influence their decisions in a court of law. While the Sixth Amendment seeks to guarantee a public trial by a jury of one’s peers, in many cases, this is simply not the case when it comes to racial diversity.
Solving the problem of racial diversity in the public courts
While this problem certainly does not have a simple answer, one solution could be encouraging more people of color to obtain a legal background and education.
For those facing criminal charges and fear an unfair process ahead, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help to protect your rights. An attorney who is cognizant of the tendency toward racial bias can help mitigate its effects through carefully constructed arguments.