School of Government Publication Recognized in US Supreme Court Case

US Supreme Court case Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, decided on March 6, 2017, recognized the contributions of a 2014 School of Government publication.

In a major ruling on juror bias and fair trials, Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion stated that “practice guides are replete with advice on conducting effective voir dire on the subject of race. They outline a variety of subtle and nuanced approaches that avoid pointed questions.” His footnotes cited several guides, including Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases, by former School of Government faculty member Alyson Grine (currently on faculty at NC Central University School of Law) and research attorney Emily Coward. The sections of the publication cited included pages 8–14 (suggesting that attorneys “share a brief example about a judgment shaped by a racial stereotype” to make it easier for jurors to share their own biased views) and pages 8–15 to 8–17 (suggesting additional strategies and providing sample questions).

Grine continues to work on the Racial Equity Network for the School of Government. Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina is a reference in the School's Indigent Defense Manual Series, edited by faculty member John Rubin and available free of charge.


Published March 7, 2017