As part of its Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance on Jan. 21, the Washington and Lee School of Law will feature a guest lecture by North Carolina District Court Judge Louis A. Trosch Jr., who has received considerable attention for his methods of avoiding implicit bias in his courtroom.
It will be a homecoming for Lou, a 1988 graduate of W&L and a 6' 6" forward on the Generals basketball team. An English major here, Lou received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was appointed to the 26th Judicial District Court bench in Mecklenburg County, N.C., in 1999, and won re-election this past November.
In his MLK Day presentation, Lou will undoubtedly discuss some of the same topics that were part of his testimony in North Carolina's first Racial Justice Act hearing, in February 2012. As the Fayetteville Observer reported, Lou was the last witness called by the lawyers for a death row inmate, who was attempting to prove that racism had influenced jury selection in his 1994 trial.
In that testimony, Lou said that he didn't think he had racial bias until he attended a training session on power, privilege and racism early in his career. "After those two days, I realized that my way of thinking, and the privileges I had had growing up, shaped a lot of how I viewed the world and how I viewed other people."
Lou has been credited with several innovative initiatives, such as the permanency mediation program in dependency court that has become a state and national model, and a truancy court program held in selected elementary and middle schools for at-risk youth. He has become a nationally recognized expert regarding collaboration between court systems and community groups.
W&L Professor of Psychology Julie Woodzicka will join Lou in the program to discuss implicit bias from a psychological perspective.
The Law School's MLK Day program will be at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, in the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Lewis Hall. It is free and open to the public.