Race and Jurors' Receptivity to Mitigation in Capital Cases: The Effect of Jurors', Defendants', and Victims' Race in Combination
Posted: 6 Jul 2005
This paper examines the variation in receptivity to mitigation evidence by capital jurors as it varies by the race of the juror, defendant, and victim individually and in combination. Attitudinal and racial characteristics from 865 respondents in the Capital Jury Project were used in the analysis. Using a generalized form of multiple regression, the respondent's receptivity to mitigation evidence was predicted and changes in receptivity were calculated as the race of the main trial participants (juror, defendant, and victim) were varied. Statistical controls were put in place for gender of respondent; respondent's perception of the dangerousness of the defendant, heinousness of the crime, and view of the defense attorney; respondent's formation of a premature sentencing decision; and whether the trial took place in a southern state jurisdiction. Results indicate that black jurors in cases where a black is charged with killing a white victim are chiefly responsible for the observed variance in receptivity to mitigation.
Keywords: Race, Capital punishment, mitigation evidence
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