The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials
Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management
Patrick J. Bayer
Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of Maryland - School of Public Policy
NBER Working Paper No. w16366
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.
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Number of Pages in PDF File: 40working papers series
Date posted: September 20, 2010
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