scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Journal ArticleDOI

The Peremptory Challenge Accused of Race or Gender Discrimination? Some Data from One County

01 Jan 1999-Law and Human Behavior (Springer New York)-Vol. 23, Iss: 6, pp 695-702
TL;DR: This paper found no association between race and selection for a jury, and only a modest relationship for gender and selection, and the null finding for race masks a pattern of strikes by each party: Whites were likely to be excused by the defense, and African Americans by the state.
Abstract: Some view the peremptory challenge as crucial to a fair jury selection process, whereas for others, it is a tool for invidious race or gender discrimination. Nevertheless, debates utilize little empirical data regarding uses of this challenge. Data are reported from observation of a small number of criminal trials in one, largely biracial southeastern county. In the aggregate, there was no association between race and selection for a jury, and only a modest relationship for gender and selection. However, the null finding for race masks a pattern of strikes by each party: When dismissed, Whites were likely to be excused by the defense, and African Americans by the state. A trial-by-trial analysis showed that when disparities between venire and jury composition existed, the direction usually pointed to overrepresentation of African Americans and women on juries. Despite limited generalizability, the data suggest the need for a more informed debate about the peremptory challenge's use in modern criminal trials.
Citations
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a unique data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010, finding evidence that juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly more often than white defendants and this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member.
Abstract: This paper examines the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a unique data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010. We utilize 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.

170 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010, finding evidence that juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly more often than white defendants and this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member.
Abstract: This paper examines the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010. We utilize 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.

139 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The relationship between race and jury decision making is a controversial topic that has received increased attention in recent years as discussed by the authors, while public and media discourse has focused on anecdotal evidence in the form of high-profile cases.
Abstract: The relationship between race and jury decision making is a controversial topic that has received increased attention in recent years. While public and media discourse has focused on anecdotal evidence in the form of high-profile cases, legal researchers have considered a wide range of empirical questions including: To what extent does the race of a defendant affect the verdict tendencies of juries? Is this influence of race comparable for jurors of different races? In what ways does a jury's racial composition affect its verdict and deliberations? The present review examines both experimental and archival investigations of these issues. Though the extant literature is not always consistent and has devoted too little attention to the psychological mechanisms underlying the influence of race, this body of research clearly demonstrates that race has the potential to impact trial outcomes. This is a conclusion with important practical as well as theoretical implications when it comes to ongoing debates regarding jury representativeness, how to optimize jury performance, jury nullification and racial disparities in the administration of capital punishment. Language: en

84 citations


Cites background or result from "The Peremptory Challenge Accused of..."

  • ...Interestingly, Sargent and Bradfield (2004) observed the opposite pattern of results, as White mock jurors in their studies were more sensitive to evidence strength when the defendant was Black than when he was White....

    [...]

  • ...stereotypes and ‘juror folklore’ (Fulero & Penrod, 1990; Sommers & Norton, 2007), which suggest that Black jurors are more lenient than White jurors in most cases (Page, 2005; Rose, 1999)....

    [...]

  • ...The controversy surrounding the use of race-based peremptories during jury selection, for example, arises in large part because of which suggest that Black jurors are more lenient than White jurors in most cases (Page, 2005; Rose, 1999)....

    [...]

Posted Content
TL;DR: Results demonstrate that race does influence peremptory use, but these judgments are typically justified in race-neutral terms that effectively mask the biasing effects of race.
Abstract: The peremptory challenge remained an inviolate jury selection tool in the United States until the Supreme Court's decision in Batson v. Kentucky (1986). Batson's prohibition against race-based peremptories was based on two assumptions: 1) a prospective juror's race can bias jury selection judgments; 2) requiring attorneys to justify suspicious peremptories enables judges to determine whether a challenge is, indeed, race-neutral. The present investigation examines these assumptions through an experimental design using three participant populations: college students, advanced law students, and practicing attorneys. Results demonstrate that race does influence peremptory use, but these judgments are typically justified in race-neutral terms that effectively mask the biasing effects of race. The psychological processes underlying these tendencies are discussed, as are practical implications for the legal system.

60 citations


Cites background or result from "The Peremptory Challenge Accused of..."

  • ...…in actual criminal trials indicate that prosecutors are more likely than defense attorneys to exclude Black venire members, while the opposite is true for White venire members (Baldus et al., 2001; McGonigle, Becka, LaFleur, & Wyatt, 2005; Rose, 1999; Turner, Lovell, Young, & Denny, 1986)....

    [...]

  • ...The Court’s willingness to break with precedent and change the very nature of the peremptory challenge is consistent with the conclusions that removal of venire members based on race violates a defendant’s equal protection rights as well as the rights of the prospective jurors themselves....

    [...]

  • ...Third, and most importantly, the present findings converge with data from actual jury selections that have demonstrated a relationship between prospective juror race and prosecutorial peremptory use (Baldus et al., 2001; McGonigle et al., 2005; Rose, 1999; Turner et al., 1986)....

    [...]

References
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The first known procedure for challenging jurors was found in Roman law as discussed by the authors, where the accuser and the accused in capital cases could each propose a list of 100 judices and each could reject 50 from the other's list, leaving 100 to try the case.
Abstract: * This experiment was conducted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and was supported by Grant GS-33825 from the National Science Foundation. Additional funds were provided by the Nancy G. and Raymond G. Feldman Fund for studies in criminal justice. t Dr. Jur., 1927, Dr. Pol. Sc., 1928, University of Vienna. Professor Emeritus of Law and Sociology, Research Associate, Center for Studies in Criminal Justice, University of Chicago; Senior Consultant, American Bar Foundation. + B.A., 1968, University of Michigan; Ph.D., 1972, Northwestern University. Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago. 1 Voir dire is sometimes translated from the French as "see [them] talk," but in fact means "true talk," the word voir being a corruption of the Latin verus, or "true". See WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INT'L DICTIONARY 2562 (1961). The earliest known procedure for challenging jurors was found in Roman law. The Lex Sevilia (104 B.C.) provided that the accuser and the accused in capital cases could each propose a list of 100 judices and that each could reject 50 from the other's list, leaving 100 to try the case. W. FORSYTH, HISTORY OF TRIAL BY JURY 175 (Cambridge 1852). In the year 7 B.C., the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar issued an edict governing the selection of jurors in capital cases in the city of Cyrene on the Lybian coast (the modern Shahhat). II ROMAN CIVILIZATION 37 (N. Lewis & M. Reinhold eds. 1963). The edict provided for the drawing of 50 prospective jurors, one-half of whom had to be Greek, the other half Roman. The edict added: "Of these the prosecutor may, if he wishes, dismiss one from each group, and the accused three out of the total, provided he does not dismiss either all Romans or all Greeks." Id. The modern system of challenges for cause and peremptory challenges originated in the common law of England, which allowed peremptory challenges only in criminal trials for capital offenses; the defendant in such an action could exclude 35 jurors. W. FORSYTH, supra at 231. King Henry VIII later reduced this number to 20, where it remained until the mid19th century. Id. The challenge for cause, allowed by the common law in all cases, was more complex than the present-day system. In Lord Coke's time, the challenge for cause included both the challenge to the array, which led to the exclusion of the entire jury, and the challenge to the polls, which led to the exclusion of individual jurors. Id. at 177. Two classes of cause were recognized: The "principal" challenge was allowed as a matter of course upon a showing that

107 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigate the effect of pre-trial media exposure on the ability of a criminal jury to select a fair and unbiased one. But their analysis is concerned with the use of voir dire in criminal cases that receive extensive prejudicial pretrial publicity.
Abstract: Voir dire serves several purposes in criminal trials. Judges and attorneys explain important points of law to jurors, often by questioning prospective jurors on their knowledge of and willingness to follow such points. Attorneys place value on publicly obtaining jurors' pledges to follow these points of law. Opposing counsel may use voir dire to preview their own theories of the case. Attorneys also attempt to build rapport with jurors during voir dire. The primary goal of voir dire, of course, is to select a jury.' Judges are responsible for evaluating the causal challenges by the prosecution and defense of any juror who cannot fulfill the responsibilities of a juror, for instance, because of a conflict of interest or a fixed opinion. Defense and prosecuting attorneys are permitted to peremptorily excuse a number of additional jurors. In principle, this procedure gives opposing parties a chance to eliminate jurors who may still not be impartial, but whose answers do not so clearly reveal enough bias to exclude those individuals through a causal challenge. Ultimately, each side uses its peremptory challenges to obtain the most favorable jury.Our analysis is concerned with the use of voir dire in criminal cases that receive extensive prejudicial pretrial publicity. Appellate courts have conceded that exposure to such publicity can threaten a defendant's right to an impartial jury. The empirical literature on this question, although inconclusive, does indicate that many types of prejudicial publicity can affect public opinion and juror sentiment. Nevertheless, the appellate courts have avoided restraints on press access and freedom to report. While standards of practice for journalists and court personnel exist which, if scrupulously followed, would alleviate some of the problems associated with pretrial publicity, indications are that such standards are vague and rarely enforced. Defendants must, therefore, rely almost exclusively upon the remedies available to trial courts for dealing with jury bias.Interviews with judges and trial attorneys suggest that they rely strongly on voir dire to minimize jury bias in high-publicity cases. Courts rarely employ such an extraordinary and expensive measure as a change of venue or change of venire. Furthermore, there is widespread confidence that a careful and extensive voir dire is highly effective in eliminating bias created by pre-trial publicity. The primary goal of this paper is to test this thesis empirically.

60 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that potential jurors frequently distort their replies to questions posed during the voir dire, and that attorneys are more effective than judges in eliciting candid self-disclosure from potential jurors.
Abstract: Broeder (1965) found that potential jurors frequently distort their replies to questions posed during the voir dire. Considerable controversy has arisen over whether more honest, accurate information is elecited by a judge or by an attorney. The experiment manipulated two target (judge-versus attorney-conducted voir dire) and two interpersonal style variables (personal versus formal). The dependent measure was the consistency of subjects' attitude reports given at pretest and again verbally in court. One-hundred-and-sixteen jury-eligible community residents participated. The results provide support for the hypothesis that attorneys are more effective than judges in eliciting candid self-disclosure from potential jurors. Subjects changed their answers almost twice as much when questioned by a judge as when interviewed by an attorney. It was suggested that the judge's presence evokes considerable pressure toward conformity to a set of perceived judicial standards among jurors, which is minimized during an attorney voir dire.

37 citations


"The Peremptory Challenge Accused of..." refers background in this paper

  • ...extent to which lawyers successfully identify biased jurors (Broeder, 1965; Johnson & Haney, 1994; Seltzer, Venuti, & Lopes, 1991) or even potentially favorable jurors (Finkelstein & Levin, 1997; Zeisel & Diamond, 1978); juror disclosure to judges versus attorneys (Jones, 1987); and voir dire as a remedy for pretrial publicity exposure (Kerr, Kramer, Carroll, & Alfini, 1991)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper conducted an exploratory study to provide some insight into the nature and content of felony voir dire and found that much of the criticism and calls for drastic reform may be misplaced.
Abstract: The practice of voir dire has a venerable history in the United States. However, despite numerous historical and legal discussions of the topic, and the increased participation of social scientists in the process, few empirical studies have been conducted on what actually occurs during voir dire. The lack of normative data is especially troublesome in the face of recent attacks on the process itself and numerous proposals to drastically limit or even prohibit what many regard as an important criminal justice safeguard—attorney-conducted voir dire in felony trials. This exploratory study attempts to provide some insight into the nature and content of felony voir dire. Our results—based on direct observation as well as juror interview responses—suggest that much of the criticism and calls for drastic reform may be misplaced.

36 citations