Racial Profiling and the Presumption of Innocence

Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy (1):43-58 (2014)
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Abstract

I argue that a compelling way to articulate what is wrong with racial profiling in policing is to view racial profiling as a violation of the presumption of innocence. I discuss the communicative nature of the presumption of innocence as an expression of social trust and a protection against the social condemnation of being undeservingly investigated, prosecuted, and convicted for committing a crime. I argue that, given its communicative dimension, failures to extend the presumption of innocence are an expression of disrespect. I take the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy as an example of racial profiling and argue that its use of race-based forms of suspicion as reasons for making stops is a violation of the presumption of innocence. I maintain that this systemic failure to extend the presumption of innocence to profiled groups reveals the essentially disrespectful nature of the NYPD policy.

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Peter DeAngelis
Villanova University

References found in this work

The Expressive Function of Punishment.Joel Feinberg - 1965 - The Monist 49 (3):397-423.
Who Must Presume Whom to Be Innocent of What?Antony Duff - 2013 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 42 (3):170-192.
The Right to be Presumed Innocent.Hamish Stewart - 2014 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (2):407-420.
There is Only One Presumption of Innocence.Thomas Weigend - 2013 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 42 (3):193-204.
Presumptions Broad and Narrow.Antony Duff - 2013 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 42 (3):268-274.

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