Justice Should be Truly Blind
by: Kenzi Schmidt
Implicit biases are a dark reality of the criminal justice system; they make it virtually impossible to have an impartial jury. Objective facts of a case should always speak louder than one’s own biased judgments. This is why Aarthi Krishkumar and her bill group have proposed a bill to initiate the use of blind juries upon the judge’s request.
Krishkumar explains, there is a “gross misrepresentation of the people who are incarcerated and the people who are in our country. Currently 13% of our country is African American, but 36% of incarcerated people are African American. They are actually in jail for longer times for smaller offenses.”
You might be wondering, isn’t seeing the defendant necessary to gauge whether they’re trustworthy or not? Krishkumar responds to this thought by saying, “How you trust a defendant should not depend on what they look like. They could be a nervous interviewer.” Race also shouldn’t be a deciding factor in the case. Krishkumar explains that race should only be accounted for if the defendant committed a hate crime. “Hate crimes in our specific bill do not go to a blind trial at all because the race that you are is pertinent to the case itself.”
“This bill could positively impact the state because it actually guarantees that every single citizen is protected under the sixth amendment,” which guarantees the right to an impartial jury.