UC Law Journal of Race and Economic Justice


Marc Price Wolf


Proving race discrimination in a criminal case using statistical evidence has been a difficult endeavor since the Supreme Court's rulings in McCleskey and Armstrong. In those cases, the Court set a high threshold for using statistics to prove constitutional violations. This note argues that this threshold is not insurmountable. Studies can be crafted to overcome the strict guidelines set out in McCleskey and Armstrong. Additionally, lower courts have interpreted these cases too broadly, such that validly presented statistical studies have unfairly been brushed aside. This note also argues that the Court analyzes social scientific studies differently when those studies are used to challenge aspects of the criminal justice system other than racial discrimination.

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