Racial Fairness in the Criminal Justice System: The Role of the Prosecutor

Angela J. Davis, American University, Washington College of Law


In this article, Davis analyzes discusses efforts to involve prosecutors in the elimination of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Part II explains how prosecutors unintentionally contribute to disparities through the arbitrary, unsystematic exercise of discretion. Part III argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has failed to provide an effective legal remedy for victims of race-based selective prosecution. Finally, in Part IV, Davis endorses the use of racial impact studies and task forces and discusses a model reform effort spearheaded by the Vera Institute of Justice.