From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Linguistic Profiling [Charles Clifford v Commonwealth of Kentucky]

In the 1999 case of Clifford v. Kentucky, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Charles Clifford based on linguistic profiling. In the Campbell County Circuit Court, a white police officer named Darin Smith testified that he heard a black man's voice [that of Clifford] making the sale of drugs in an apartment. Officer Smith was in a nearby apartment and had heard the voice through a wire worn by an undercover agent. Charles Clifford was the only black man in the room where the sale was taking place and was thus determined to be the drug seller. Linguistic profiling has been accepted as legal in some instances and illegally discriminatory in others. The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on linguistic profiling. For more see Charles Clifford, Appellant v Commonwealth of Kentucky, Appellee, Supreme Court of Kentucky, November 18, 1999 - Rendered [online at FindLaw]; J. Baugh, "Racial identification by speech," American Speech, vol. 75, issue 4 (2000), pp. 362-364; and John Baugh, "Linguistic Profiling," chapter 8 in Black Linguistics by S. Makoni et. al. [online .pdf].


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NKAA Source: American speech (periodical)

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“Linguistic Profiling [Charles Clifford v Commonwealth of Kentucky],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 18, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:32