Race, Impact on Juries

The relationship between race and the decision making of juries is complex and controversial. Media and public discussions of the topic often focus on anecdotal evidence in the form of recent high-profile cases in the United States. Researchers, on the other hand, have begun to generate a wide-ranging empirical literature regarding the influence of a defendant's race on jurors, between-race differences in juror tendencies, and the effects of jury racial composition on verdicts and deliberations. The findings of these studies are not always consistent, and the psychological processes through which race influences decision making merit additional investigation. Nonetheless, this body of research clearly indicates that race has the potential to affect trial outcomes—a conclusion that is noteworthy from a practical standpoint and carries important implications ...

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