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84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1195 (2008-2009)
Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges

handle is hein.journals/tndl84 and id is 1201 raw text is: DOES UNCONSCIOUS RACIAL BIAS AFFECT
Jeffreyj Rachlinski,* Sheri Lynn Johnsont AndrewJ Wistrich,4 &
Chris Guthriet
Race matters in the criminal justice system. Black defendants appear to
fare worse than similarly situated white defendants. Why? Implicit bias is one
possibility. Researchers, using a well-known measure called the Implicit Associ-
ation Test, have found that most white Americans harbor implicit bias toward
black Americans. Do judges, who are professionally committed to egalitarian
norms, hold these same implicit biases? And if so, do these biases account for
racially disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system? We explored these
two research questions in a multi-part study involving a large sample of trial
judges drawn from around the country. Our results-which are both discour-
aging and encouraging-raise profound issues for courts and society. We find
that judges harbor the same kinds of implicit biases as others; that these biases
can influence their judgment; but that given sufficient motivation, judges can
compensate for the influence of these biases.
© 2009 Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Sheri Lynn Johnson, AndrewJ. Wistrich, and Chris
Guthrie. Individuals and nonprofit institutions may reproduce and distribute copies
of this Article in any format, at or below cost, for educational purposes, so long as
each copy identifies the author, provides a citation to the Notre Dame Law Review, and
includes this provision and copyright notice.
*  Professor of Law, Cornell Law School.
t Professor of Law, Cornell Law School.
I  Magistrate Judge, United States District Court, Central District of California.
tt  Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School. The authors are grateful for the
comments and assistance of Ian Ayres, Steve Burbank, Jack Glaser, Tracey George,
Tony Greenwald, Matthew Patrick Henry, Reid Hastie, Christine Jolls, Dan Kahan,
Jerry Kang, Cass Sunstein, and the participants in workshops at the University of
Arizona Law School, Bar Ilan University Law School, Brooklyn Law School, the
University of Chicago Law School, Chicago-Kent Law School, Cornell Law School,
George Washington University Law School, Harvard Law School, Hebrew University
Law School, the University of Illinois School of Law, Notre Dame Law School, Ohio
State University Law School, St. Louis University Law School, Syracuse University Law
School, Tel-Aviv University Law School, Temple Law School, Villanova Law School,
the University of Zurich, the Annual Meeting of the American Law and Economics
Association, and the Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies.

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