racial prejudice, Rodney King Case, Big Black Man Syndrome, criminal law, ethics
Rodney King was portrayed as the prototypical "Big Black Man". Having recognized the existence of the Big Black Man Syndrome as a factor in the Rodney King Case, what are the moral and ethical implications of allowing defense counsel to so cleverly play upon the racial fears they evidently recognized? The issue is whether the use of racist arguments by defense counsel in a criminal trial is unethical. This essay explores the ethical consideration that come into play where a trial advocate is faced with a case where racism, homophobia, or ethnic prejudice is part of the courtroom dynamic.
The Big Black Man Syndrome: The Rodney King Trial and the Use of Racial Stereotyes in the Courtroom,
20 Fordham Urb. L.J. 571
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ulj/vol20/iss3/13