The FPD is committed to speaking out about how racism impacts our clients while also looking inward to guard against implicit bias impacting our practice. Here are some specific examples:
- Prompted by advocacy from our office, the Court in our District created a video about unconscious racial bias which is shown to potential jurors before they serve on a jury. Please click here to view the video. Courts around the country have since adopted this video or have created similar videos
- A lawyer in our office conducted an exhaustive survey of the legislative history for the statute that criminalizes certain border crossings by undocumented immigrants, Illegal Reentry after Removal/Deportation, 8 U.S.C. § 1326. The resulting brief that lays bare the racist origin of the statute has been shared throughout Federal Defender offices in the country and has resulted in at least one court finding the prosecution under this statute violates the Equal Protection Clause because of its racist origins and discriminatory application. Please click here to read more.
- Our office has created several committees to honestly examine our own office practices and identify ways in which our advocacy can better identify disparate treatment within the criminal legal system and ways to address it both systemically and within individual cases.
- Our office examined internal data to determine whether there was a racial disparity in office resources (hours worked, experts retained) being used on firearm cases. This review showed that the office utilizes at least as many resources when representing BIPOC clients.