ABSTRACT

The activities of judges in the claims-making process is specifically encompassed in order to understand the role of the judiciary in the social construction of guilt and innocence in black and white defendants' cases. Judges have extensive discretionary powers and according to R. Pattenden 'many of the Judge's discretionary powers enable him consciously or unconsciously to influence the outcome of a trial'. It is more likely for a negative judicial interference to occur when barristers, witnesses and judges differ in their views. The difference in the way that a judge perceives a defendant's possession in the context of drug trafficking is exhibited in his/her reply to competing claims and justifications. Conducts which could be termed as signs of sexual immorality amongst white defendants are not portrayed as such by the prosecution and similarly, judges do not view the racial group of defendants as violators of any sexual norm.