Symposium 2019

Latinx Communities, Race, and the Criminal Justice System

Organized by UCLA Law Review and BruinX, Office of Equity Diversity & Inclusion
Friday, February 8, 2019
UCLA School of Law
Room 1347

Symposium Schedule

9-9:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks

  • Tate Harshbarger, Editor-in-Chief, UCLA Law Review
  • Kristen Green, Symposium Editor, UCLA Law Review
  • Maximo Langer, Professor of Law, Director of the UCLA Transnational Program on Criminal Justice, Faculty Director of the UCLA Criminal Justice Program, UCLA School of Law
  • Sheri Lynn Johnson, James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

9:30-10:45 a.m.   Panel I: Setting the Context

Summary: This panel serves as a point of departure for the range of criminal justice issues the rest of the Symposium will engage.  In addition to highlighting how Latinx communities perceive the criminal justice system, the panel will provide a general overview of what we know and don't know about Latinx incarceration. The panel will also explore the content and consequences of Latinx racialization (including the prevalence of negative racial stereotypes) and the various ways in which U.S. immigration law and policy punishes and criminalizes migrants.

Moderator: Laura Gomez, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

  • Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware
  • Victoria Plaut, Director, Culture, Diversity & Intergroup Relations Lab; Professor of Law and Social Science, Berkeley Law and Celina Romano
  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, UCLA

10:45-11:00 a.m. Break

11:00-12:15 p.m. Panel II: Policing Latinx Communities

Summary: This panel will focus on questions around policing in Latinx communities in order to shed light on the ways that intersecting legal regimes and policing practices affect those communities.  The panel will explore how racialized constructions of criminality are both fueled by and fuel policies favoring heavy police presence in public schools that serve the Latinx community.  The panel will also consider the ways that interoperable information systems and data sharing practices are used to construct technologically undergirded narratives of Latinx and immigrant criminality.  Finally, the panel will examine the effects of policing practices at the intersection of immigration law and criminal law that disproportionately target the Latinx community and will unpack the complex ways that immigration status compounds the vulnerability of Latinx communities to problematic policing practices.

Moderator: Jennifer Chacón, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

  • Kevin Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis School of Law
  • Julia Mendoza, Lecturer in Law and Thomas C. Grey Fellow, Stanford Law School
  • Ana Muñiz, Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, UCI School of Social Ecology
  • Amada Armenta, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

12:15-12:30 p.m. Pick up lunch boxes

12:30-1:30 p.m. Keynote Luncheon

  • Remarks by Jennifer Mnookin, Dean, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law
  • Introduction by Laura Gomez, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Keynote Address by Gerald López, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

1:30-2:45 p.m. Panel III: Law, Policy, & Community Organizing: Direct Democracy as a Vehicle for Criminal Justice Reform

Summary: This panel will explore how statewide direct democracy measures, including ballot initiatives, have propelled affirmative criminal justice reforms in jurisdictions with large Latinx populations. Panelists will discuss the ways in which Latinx people were and were not meaningfully incorporated into the campaigns and subsequent implementation efforts for Florida’s Amendment 4, California’s Propositions 47 and 57, and a handful of drug referendums. This discussion will focus on lessons learned and highlight best practices as they relate to the ballot box and criminal justice reform. Ultimately, this discussion will inform the capacity for meaningful reforms to integrate the needs of the Latinx community, including the potential for scale in other jurisdictions with large Latinx populations, like Arizona.

Moderator: Sonja Diaz, Founding Director, Latino Policy & Politics Initiative, UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy

  • Tomas Robles, Co-Director, LUCHA
  • Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRDLEF
  • Marisa Arrona, Local Safety Solutions Project Director, Californians for Safety and Justice
  • Jeannette Zanipatin, California State Director, Drug Policy Alliance

2:45-3:00 p.m. Break

3:00-4:15 p.m. Panel IV: Crime and Criminal Adjudication in the Latinx Context

Summary: This panel explores the relevance of race, citizenship, immigration status, and community context in explaining lethal violence and criminal case outcomes, both currently and historically. Specific topics that will be addressed include: What is the relationship between immigration, economic disadvantage, and homicide in a majority Latinx city? How did racial tensions during the Mexican Revolution contribute to the lynching of Mexicans by Anglo-Texans in the borderlands and what was the legal response to these acts of racial terrorism? Where are Latinx-White sentencing disparities most pronounced? In which ways might offense-type, citizenship, immigration status, and local racial context interact to explain these Latinx-White sentencing disparities in both federal and state courts? What factors contribute to the wrongful convictions of Latinx defendants? How are these factors similar to and dissimilar from non-Latinx defendants? Drawing from a variety of data sources and employing a wide range of analytical approaches, the panel illuminates largely overlooked and underappreciated racially-contingent micro- and meso-level processes and their enduring consequences for Latinx defendants, Latinx victims, and Latinx communities.

Moderator: Alicia Virani, Associate Director, Criminal Justice Program, UCLA School of Law

  • Klara Stephens, Denise Foderaro Research Scholar, University of Michigan Law School/ National Registry of Exonerations
  • Nicholas Villanueva, Director of Critical Sports Studies; Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Jeffrey Ulmer, Associate Department Head, Department of Sociology and Criminology; Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Penn State
  • Ramiro Martinez, Professor of Sociology and Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern University

4:15-4:30 p.m. Break

4:30-5:45 p.m. Panel V: Capital Punishment

Summary: This panel will focus on questions surrounding the influence of race and ethnicity on the imposition of capital punishment. When the Supreme Court struck down unitary standardless capital punishment statutes in Furman v. Georgia in the early 1970s, several members of the Court were heavily influenced by the obvious racially discriminatory effects of such statutes.  Only a few years later the Court upheld two forms of bifurcated, more structured death penalty statutes in Gregg v. Georgia and Jurek v. Texas, relying in part on an assumption that the narrowing required by such statutes would eliminate the influence of racial bias.  None of those three cases consider the possibility of racial bias against any group other than African Americans. This panel both broadens the lens to consider the possibility of bias against Latinx defendants and examines the evidence that racial and ethnic bias continues to influence the imposition of the death penalty under modern statutes.

Moderator: Devon Carbado, Associate Vice Chancellor of BruinX for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law

  • Cynthia Willis-Esqueda, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Sheri Lynn Johnson, James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Martin Urbina, Professor of Criminal Justice, Sul Ross State University
  • Sherod Thaxton, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Catherine Grosso, Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law

5:30-5:45 p.m. Concluding Remarks

Devon Carbado, Associate Vice Chancellor of BruinX for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law

6:00-7:30 p.m. Reception Hosted by UCLA Law Review