Just One Black Juror Can Reduce Chance of Conviction of Blacks and Increase Convictions of Whites

Thursday, April 26, 2012
(graphic: Art Lien, NBC News)
African-Americans facing trial in Florida need to hope for one thing: A black person on the jury.
 
After examining more than 700 non-capital felony criminal cases in Sarasota and Lake Counties over a 10-year period, researchers at Duke University found the presence of just one black person on a jury can significantly change the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
 
In cases where there were no blacks in the jury pool, blacks were convicted 81% of the time and whites were convicted 66% of the time.
 
But when the jury included a single black individual, the conviction rates for black defendants were nearly the same as cases involving white defendants (71% for blacks, 73% for whites).
 
“I think this is the first strong and convincing evidence that the racial composition of the jury pool actually has a major effect on trial outcomes,” said senior author Patrick Bayer, chairman of Duke’s Economics Department.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
To Learn More:
The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials (by Shamena Anwar, Patrick Bayer and Randi Hjalmarsson, Quarterly Journal of Economics) (pdf)

African-Americans Still Excluded from Southern Juries (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov) 

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