The impact of jury race in criminal trials

Published

Journal Article

This article examines the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010. We use a research design that exploits day-to-day variation in the composition of the jury pool to isolate quasi-random variation in the composition of the seated jury, finding evidence that (i) juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly (16 percentage points) more often than white defendants, and (ii) this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member. The impact of jury race is much greater than what a simple correlation of the race of the seated jury and conviction rates would suggest. These findings imply that the application of justice is highly uneven and raise obvious concerns about the fairness of trials in jurisdictions with a small proportion of blacks in the jury pool. © The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press, on the behalf of President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Anwar, S; Bayer, P; Hjalmarsson, R

Published Date

  • May 7, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 127 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 1017 - 1055

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-4650

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-5533

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/qje/qjs014

Citation Source

  • Scopus