Worried About Cultural Sensitivity And Misrepresentation? What You Should Know About Criminal Lawyers And Their Training

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Worried About Cultural Sensitivity And Misrepresentation? What You Should Know About Criminal Lawyers And Their Training

14 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Given the nature of their careers, criminal lawyers are required to learn, know and understand as much as possible about other cultures. At the very least, lawyers have to know and understand enough about the cultures in their communities, cities and counties in which they practice. They learn through cultural sensitivity training, and here is what they are required to know.

Not All People of One Race Are the Same

Lawyers do not assume that every person of Asian or African descent is the same as the next. Additionally, there are distinct visual cues that alert highly trained and sensitive people to the nationality of each person they encounter. Part of the cultural sensitivity training that some lawyers receive helps them discern the differences between someone who is Japanese versus someone who is Chinese. Likewise, Native American peoples of the Southwest are distinctly different from Mexican Americans. In some cases where race or ancestral origin plays a part in the charges against a client, is important to the clients for their lawyers to know the difference.

Religion Plays a Part

Cultural sensitivity often includes a religious component. That is not to say that every client a criminal lawyer encounters will have a preferred religion or faith. However, if the client is a practicing Buddhist, for example, the criminal lawyer representing this client could use the tenets of Buddhism and anti-violence to establish some level of credible doubt regarding the charges his or her client faces. Additionally, anyone who regularly or devoutly practices his or her faith will have connections to their temple, church or other place of worship, where priests or clergy see the client worshiping and can speak to the client's character.

Familial and Tribal Customs

Customs that are regularly practiced by a people or by a family over several generations need to be honored, even if a member is temporarily incarcerated. A criminal lawyer who is sensitive to these aspects of culture will attempt to get a judge or the courts to allow the client time and any needed items to practice their customs, within reason. Until a person is officially convicted of a crime, he or she is still allowed their cultural heritage, which includes the practice of religion, familial and tribal customs. The lawyer would also acquaint him- or herself with the specifics of these customs so that a client cannot ask for more than what he or she is entitled to under the law.

To learn more, contact a law firm like Alexander & Associates, P.C.