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Race and law

Law and Psychology

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Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

We review the extensive body of studies relying on jurors' self-reports in interviews or questionnaires, with a focus on potential threats to validity for researchers seeking to answer particularly provocative questions such as the influence of race in jury decision-making. We then offer a more focused case study comparison of interview and questionnaire data with behavioral data in the domain of race and juror decision-making. Our review suggests that the utility of data obtained from juror interviews and questionnaire responses varies considerably depending on the question under investigation. We close with an evaluation of the types of empirical questions most …


'Race Salience' In Juror Decision-Making: Misconceptions, Clarifications, And Unanswered Questions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2009

'Race Salience' In Juror Decision-Making: Misconceptions, Clarifications, And Unanswered Questions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

In two frequently cited articles, Sommers and Ellsworth (2000, 2001) concluded that the influence of a defendant’s race on White mock jurors is more pronounced in interracial trials in which race remains a silent background issue than in trials involving racially charged incidents. Referring to this variable more generally as "race salience," we predicted that any aspect of a trial that leads White mock jurors to be concerned about racial bias should render the race of a defendant less influential. Though subsequent researchers have further explored this idea of "race salience," they have manipulated it in the same way as …


How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2003

How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The past decade has witnessed numerous high-profile criminal trials in which controversial verdicts have been attributed to racethe race of the defendant, the racial composition of a jury, an attorney "playing the race card," and so on. A predominantly Black jury's acquittal of O.J. Simpson and White jurors' leniency in the police brutality cases of Rodney King and Amadou Diallo not only sparked public debate, but also led to rioting and violence. In the wake of trials such as these, many have questioned the viability of the American jury system.' More specific questions regarding the influence of race on jury …


Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2000

Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The present studies compare the judgments of White and Black mock jurors in interracial trials. In Study 1, the defendant’s race did not influence White college students’ decisions but Black students demonstrated ingroup/outgroup bias in their guilt ratings and attributions for the defendant’s behavior. The aversive nature of modern racism suggests that Whites are motivated to appear nonprejudiced when racial issues are salient; therefore, the race salience of a trial summary was manipulated and given to noncollege students in Study 2. Once again, the defendant’s race did not influence Whites when racial issues were salient. But in the non-race-salient version …