THE ART OF PREJUDICE: EXAMINING THE MINORITYEFFECT INSIDE THE COURTROOM
BRITTANIE A. HOLMESI.
INTRODUCTION“As American society has matured, blatant forms of racismhave increasingly been replaced by newer, more elusive, but equallyinjurious forms of derision.”
Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states in part that “evidence may be excluded if its probativevalue is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfairprejudice…or misleading the jury…”
When inside of a courtroom,parties to a case become the minority to a controlled majority, knownas the jury, who hold people’s fate in their hands. People’s namesare often tarnished by the attacks of their character on irrelevantmatters, which may be targeted based on their ethnic backgrounds,religious beliefs, and even legal citizenship. Also, dangers of unfairprejudice can arise if evidence demonstrates immoral character orunpopular associations that could arouse juror antagonism,overemphasizes negative connotations and incites a jury'svindictiveness, invites unwarranted conclusions generating a risk of fact-finding mistake, or unreasonably appeals to a jury's emotions orprejudices.
Elizabeth L. Earle,
Banishing the Thirteenth Juror: An Approach to theIdentification of Prosecutorial Racism
, 92 C
. L. R
. 1212, 1222 (1992).
. R. E
D. Craig Lewis,
Proof and Prejudice: A Constitutional Challenge to the Treatment of Prejudicial Evidence in Federal Criminal Cases
, 64 W
. L. R
. 289, 322(1989).
Although shocking to some, the utilization andexploitation of bigotry in the name of “justice” is alive and well.