Research Sources for Racial Profiling

 ***THIS is an ARCHIVED guide. It may contain BROKEN links. Its value is HISTORICAL only.***

Current Research Guides 

Hyla Bondareff, Assistant Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law and Anne Cleester Taylor, Reference Librarian, Room 455/ 935-4829


This guide is written to be used in conjunction with Racial Profiling Seminar: Policies, Practices and the Law.  

Racial profiling is a hot topic in law enforcement.  The course will integrate three facets of the racial profiling debate: the legal landscape surrounding racial profiling; the extent to which racial profiling is actually practiced; and the policy implications of both.   To write your seminar paper you will need to research traditional legal resources, as well as sources not typically used in law classes. 

Seeking Journal Articles

For this topic, broaden your searches to include non-legal databases.  In addition to the case law, statutes and articles from legal publications, searching general interest titles can add multi-disciplinary analyses of the issues surrounding race relations and the use of profiling.  

After you have identified a relevant article using the subject indexes and databases listed below, you must then locate a copy of the text.  It is increasingly common to find the full-text of articles hyperlinked within an online citation, but some articles still require you to find a printed copy. The Washington University Libraries maintain extensive subscriptions to hard-copy journals and newspapers.  Use the Libraries' catalog link below to locate these titles on campus. For periodicals that are not held in any of the University Libraries, or, are not available electronically, you can request the item using ILLiad interlibrary loan software.

Current, hard copy issues of journals subscribed to by the Law Library are held behind the circulation desk.  After they are bound, they are shelved on the 5th floor.

From the Law Library:   [view Databases]
Note: Many of these links will only work within Anheuser-Busch Hall.


Source  Coverage    Description 
HeinOnline  Varies  [Working to] provide full text online access to all legal journals, rare and out of print collections and convert all back issues of indexed legal journals into a searchable electronic format.
Index to Legal Periodicals  1981 to present Database of law reviews and bar journal articles
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals 1985 to present Database of foreign and international law review articles
Legal Trac   1980 to present Database of law reviews, bar journals, and legal newspaper articles
Lexis/Nexis  Varies  Provides authoritative legal, news, public records and business information; including tax and regulatory publications
Westlaw  Varies Premier information storage and retrieval system for legal research.


From Olin Library: 

Note: Some of these databases may only be accessible within Olin Library.

Pay particular attention to:

  • Ethnic Newswatch, A full-text collection of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press from 1990 to present.
  • Academic Search Premier.   A scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing full text for more than 4,650 publications, including more than 3,600 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to the full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for all 8,183 journals in the collection. 

You may also browse the listing of full-text electronic journals by subject categories including "Gender and Ethnic Studies."

Books: Searching the Catalogs

Books are seldom as up-to-date as journal articles, but they often provide better detail, historical background, and more in-depth and thoughtful analyses of topics than their shorter counterparts.

Following are links to the University's online catalogs, as well as WorldCat, a database listing over 40 million items in printed and electronic formats.  Both the Libraries' Catalog and WorldCat also list journal holdings and give their availability and location, but you cannot search journal content in these databases.  (See the section, "Seeking Journal Articles", above.)

  • Washington University Libraries Catalog 
    Includes access to the Hilltop Libraries, Law and the Missouri Research Libraries (mobius)
  • World Cat 
    Contains holdings information for thousands of libraries. To borrow books not available at WashU or through mobius, click on the LAW SCHOOL ILLiad Request button.

Both of these catalogs provide for keyword, title, author and subject searching. Upgrades in software have added new features to the basic information traditionally provided. For example, doing an exact title search for "racial profiling" in the Washington University Libraries Catalog, finds the following entry:


Author Pampel, Fred C. 
Title Racial profiling / Fred C. Pampel. 
Published New York : Facts on File, c2004.
Description 284 p. ; 24 cm.

It is accompanied by its location information and, because it is a newer title, the 'Table of Contents" and a summary are included. There is also a hyperlink to the Library of Congress's record for this title. Listed at the end of the Table are the appendices that reprint the text of several cases and proposed legislation that Mr. Pampel found important:


Table of Contents for Racial Profiling / Fred C. Pampel. 
Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog. 
Contents data are machine generated based on pre-publication information provided by the publisher. Contents may have variations from the printed book or be incomplete or contain other coding.


Part I 

  • Overview of the Topic
  • Chapter 1
  • Overview of Racial Profiling 5
  • Chapter2 The Law and Racial Profiling 101
  • Chapter 3 Chronology 151
  • Chapter 4 Biographical Listing 173
  • Chapter 5 Glossary 192

Part II Guide to Further Research 

  • Chapter 6 How to Research Racial Profiling 204
  • Chapter 7 Annotated Bibliography 222
  • Chapter 8 Organizations and Agencies 325

Part III Appendices 

  • Appendix A United States v. Brignoni-Ponce 74-114 (1975) 353
  • Appendix B United States v. State Of New Jersey 99-5970 (1999) 364
  • Appendix C United States v. German Espinoza Montero-Camargo 97-50643 (1999) 370
  • Appendix D H. R. 2074: To Prohibit Racial Profiling, House of Representatives (2001) 391 
  • Appendix E Kentucky Acts Ch. 158, Sec. 1, 15A.195: Prohibition Against Racial Profiling (2001) 405
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication: Racial profiling in law enforcement United States, Racial profiling in law enforcement

Finding ALRs, Treatises, and Hornbooks:

American Law Reports are research papers or "annotations" written by attorneys that analyze timely issues or controversial case decisions. They provide an overview of the topic, the leading cases, and reviews of how various jurisdictions have treated these issues.  They are useful as case-finders and they incorporate references to other secondary resources for continuing research. The database is available electronically through both Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw [both linked above.] It is also available in hard copy on Level 2 of the Law Library: LC call number KF 132 .A5... [the end of the call number varies by edition], The ALR Quick Index is kept at the Reference and Circulation Desks on Level 4.

Treatises and hornbooks are textbook arrangements of key case law, statutes and other seminal publications about a topic. They can be located by keyword searching the Washington University Libraries Catalog hyperlinked above.

Locating U.S. Government Documents

Generally, most federal documents are housed in our Government Documents collection on Level 2.  They are shelved by sudoc number, which organizes the material by issuing agency.  Please see a reference librarian if you have any problems finding the material; also, some documents are now provided full-text online.  Documents of this type will be hyperlinked in the University's online catalog (example:  Statistical abstract of the United States [prepared by the chief of the Bureau of Statistics, Treasury Department] can be accessed using an Adobe Acrobat reader.)

Searching MOBIUS is also useful--almost all government documents can be found in MOBIUS. Washington University students have borrowing privileges within this system.

Sources of American Law: Online and free:

  • Findlaw.
    Federal and State Statutes, Cases and Regulations 
  • Thomas. 
    Access to Federal laws and their legislative history.
  • State Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations. 
    Links to all states.
  • Guide to Internet Resources on Racism, Race, and American Law
    Produced by Prof. C. Keith Wingate at University of California Hastings College of the Law Great guide to online sources with annotations – Some of his annotations are:  
  • Racial Profiling Data Collection Resource Center:  This Northeastern University website is designed to be a central clearinghouse for police agencies, legislators, community leaders, social scientists, legal researchers, and journalists to access information about current data collection efforts, legislation and model policies, police community initiatives, and methodical tools that can be used to collect and analyze data.  In addition to reports on racial profiling from around the country, the site contains a What's New section with news relating to racial profiling from around the country.  The site also contains information on the background of data collection, jurisdictions currently collecting data, community groups, legislation that is pending and enacted, and has a resource kit on planning and implementing data collection procedures, training officers to implement these systems, and analyzing and reporting the data.  

  • Racial Profiling:  This page contains news, information, and reports on racial profiling around the United States .  It is part of the website of Common Sense for Drug Policy, an organization which provides technical assistance and advice to organizations and individuals working to reform current drug policies.  The site contains detailed information about the War on Drugs and extensive links to resources and other drug reform groups.  

  • Background Reports on Race Relations.
    This site is sponsored by The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.  It includes special reports on a number of topics covered on the show such as Slave Reparations, affirmative action, and illegal immigration.  

  • National Center for State Courts:….for bibliography of print and electronic books, reports, and articles.  Nothing past 2002.

Statistical sources:

  • Statistical Abstract of the United States, prepared by the chief of the Bureau of Statistics, Treasury Department. Washington: U.S.G.P.O., 1879- .  
    This is the principal statistical site for the Feds and includes extensive breakdowns of the population by economic, educational attainment, race and other categories.
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington , D.C. : The Bureau, [198?-]
    : searching for the term “racial profiling” within the DOJ site finds a wealth of documents.  
  • Missouri Attorney General’s Office, 2003 Annual Report, Missouri Traffic Stops. 
    Concerns by the citizens of Missouri and the Missouri legislature regarding allegations of racial profiling by law enforcement prompted the passage of state law Section 590.650, RSMo (2000), which was enacted Aug. 28, 2000.

Missouri's state law requires that all peace officers in the state report specific information including a driver's race for each traffic stop made in the state. Law enforcement agencies are required to turn in the data to the Attorney General, and the Attorney General is required to compile the data and report to the Governor no later than June 1 of each year. The law allows the Governor to withhold state funds for any agency which does not comply with the law. State law requires that all information be reported to the Attorney General's Office by March 1.