Jim Crow ethics and the defense of the Jena Six

Anthony V. Alfieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This Article is the second in a three-part series on the 2006 prosecution and defense of the Jena Six in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana. The series, in turn, is part of a larger, ongoing project investigating the role of race, lawyers, and ethics in the American criminal-justice system. The purpose of the project is to understand the race-based, identity-making norms and practices of prosecutors and defenders in order to craft alternative civilrights and criminal-justice strategies in cases of racially-motivated violence. To that end, this Article revisits the prosecution and defense of the Jena Six in the hope of uncovering the professional norms of practice under de jure and de facto conditions of racial segregation, a set of norms I call Jim Crow legal ethics. Jim Crow ethical norms condone and oftentimes encourage coded claims of race-based identity in describing individual black offenders as culturally and socially inferior, and, thus, in publicly shaping the collective histories of black-offender communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1651-1701
Number of pages51
JournalIowa Law Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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