Prosecutors are powerful actors in the criminal justice system. They have wide-ranging and virtually unreviewable discretion in deciding whether to charge someone with a crime and what that charge should be. The Jena Six and the Duke Lacrosse cases are well-known recent examples of cases in which claims of racial bias sit at the center of public debate about these matters. What role, if any, does race play as a factor of inherent bias in prosecutorial decision making? Are prosecutors influenced by factors such as race, celebrity status, or notoriety of the case when exercising their unfettered prosecutorial judgment? What responsibility should a prosecutor have to ensure that bias does not enter decision-making? Join the Center for American Progress, the Jamestown Project, and a panel of prominent prosecutors, defenders, and academics, as we examine race and bias in criminal prosecutions.
Angela Davis, Professor, American University, Washington College of Law
Glenn Ivey, State Attorney, Prince George’s County, Maryland
David Kennedy, Director, Center for Crime Prevention and Control
Denny LeBoeuf, Founding Director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana
Ronald Sullivan, Jr., Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Project