Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

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 decision making also emerge from this spate of wellpublicized cases: How does a defendant's race influence jurors' perception and judgment? How does the racial composition of a jury affect its deliberations and final decision? Is the influence of race on jurors the same in all criminal trials?


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