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The Champion

July 2009 , Page 58 

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Law Student Essay Competition: The Diverseness of Racism and the Uncertain Potential of Diversity

By Megan Shapiro

Read more Law Student Essay Competition columns.

It is easy enough to craft an argument that increasing diversity in the criminal justice system will decrease racism, but that would significantly oversimplify both concepts — diversity and racism — and their relationship. The reality is complicated, as it always is with the criminal justice system. But nothing less should be expected of a topic that by its very name means complexity, acceptance of differences, and on a certain level, conflict.

There are countless stories of recent injustices with racial overtones — some replicating the themes of Tom Robinson’s trial in To Kill a Mockingbird, others more covertly extending white dominance of the system. Why do non-white exonerees make up 60 percent of the death row exoneree population1 and 71 percent of the DNA-exoneree population,2 but closer to only 20 percent of the general population?3 Why did the federal government take the extraordinary measure of intervening to seek the death penalty against Demario Atwater for the murder of Eve

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