How to Address Anti-LGBT Bias in the Courtroom
Created on June 25, 2020
Fair and impartial courts are a cornerstone of our democracy. Attorneys are being called on more frequently to prepare for jury trials where they will need to select a jury free from bias based on their client's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In jurisdictions that rely on the court to conduct voir dire, judges must also have an understanding of anti-LGBT bias as it questions potential jurors. From limits placed on voir dire regarding anti-LGBT bias to using peremptory strikes to remove LGBT prospective jurors, a number of recent cases have addressed the issues of anti-LGBT bias in the legal system.
This course, taught by Lambda Legal attorneys Ethan Rice, the Senior Attorney for the Fair Courts Project, and Richard Saenz, Senior Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist, will discuss cases such as the Eleventh Circuit's decision in Berthiaume v. Smith et al. and the Michigan Court of Appeal's in People v. Six, regarding voir dire on the anti-LGBT bias. It will also analyze the Ninth Circuit's decision in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories and a recent California case, People v. Douglas, that address peremptory strikes against LGBT prospective jurors. The program will also discuss an ongoing case regarding the courtesy and respect judges should show transgender litigants by using pronouns that are consistent with their gender identity. The course will cover other issues surrounding LGBT-related bias, including educating judges and jurors about transgender people when you have a transgender client, addressing both express and implicit bias through voir dire during jury selection, how to address anti-LGBT bias after a verdict has been rendered, and best practices generally when working with an LGBT client.
Analyze the current case law regarding anti-LGBT bias in the legal system
Prepare for a jury trial where a client is LGBT
Challenge peremptory strikes that are based on a prospective jurors sexual orientation and/or gender identity
Respond to judicial bias based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity
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