1. Insights
  2. Media Mentions
  3. Challenging Systemic Racism with Human Connection (by Andi Mazingo, Esq.)

Challenging Systemic Racism with Human Connection (by Andi Mazingo, Esq.)

As lawyers, we have a special obligation to mitigate inequities.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash


In addition, addressing bias that occurs at earlier inflection points in a criminal case could have an even more profound impact. When prosecutors conduct an initial review of a case, they typically have far-reaching discretion to determine a defendant’s charges and whether they are felony or misdemeanor charges. In a conversation with Dr. Arin Reeves, attorney and leading implicit bias researcher, Reeves explained that prosecutors consider, when selecting charges, what the likelihood is that they will succeed at trial on those charges, and that assessment could include consideration of whether the prosecution will benefit from judge or juror bias. “What they’re saying is, ‘We perceive you as not having a good chance in front of the judge or the jury.’ In that moment, they’re not questioning the bias, and the bias becomes [a defendant’s] reality.” Telephone Interview with Arin Reeves, President, Nextions LLC, Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 3, 2021). Thus, commented Reeves, “at the very introduction of the process, a lot of the rest of the path is determined.” Id.

EquityImplicit BiasJEDIJusticeRace/EthnicitySystemic Bias InterruptionSystemic Bias Interruption in Promotion & Advancement