This study investigated whether Black and White mock jurors would commit the ultimate attribution error (i.e., over-rely on dispositional explanations to understand the negative actions of out-group members) in a necessity defense case. Participants (N = 97) read a fictional looting case, in which the race of the defendant varied. Mock jurors were expected to show out-group severity through more guilty verdicts and blame attributions. Mock juror and defendant race were not significantly related to verdicts, but for the Black defendant, White mock jurors attributed more control to him, and believed he was likely to reoffend more so than did Black mock jurors. This study adds to the literature on the mechanism by which racial bias interferes with juror decisions.

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Keywords Juror race, necessity defense, ultimate attribution error
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Journal Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
Yamamoto, S. (Susan), & Maeder, E.M. (2017). Defendant and juror race in a necessity case: An ultimate attribution error. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 15(3), 270–284. doi:10.1080/15377938.2017.1347542