Wednesday, 05 February, 2014
The Department of Sociology and Center for the Study of Social Justice will host "Unequal Protection under the Law: Encoding Racial Disparities in the Case of Smith v. Georgia." The speakers include: Dr. Stephanie Bohon, Dept. of Sociology, Dr. Michelle Brown, Dept. of Sociology, and Dr. Meghan Conley, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Civil Rights and Social Justice at the University of Mary Washington.
This presentation uses the Georgia Supreme Court ruling in the 2002 capital murder trial of Brandon Smith to illustrate how "fair cross section" implementation in Georgia's legal system was used to create case law that institutionalized discrimination against Hispanic participation in the jury process. Using critical race theory, they will argue that legal precedents based on distorted perceptions of the composition of the Hispanic community in new destination states, common practices of jury forced balancing, and sole reliance on decennial census numbers collided to create case law that unintentionally deprives Georgia's Hispanics of equal protection under the law.