This study examined the influence of defendant race and race salience (manipulated via racially charged media) on Canadian mock jurors' judgements. Two hundred ten jury-eligible Canadian online participants read a racially charged (general or specific to the defendant's race) or neutral article followed by a trial transcript that involved dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and impaired driving charges against a White, Black, or Indigenous defendant. Diverging from previous findings, this study did not find effects of defendant race or race salience on verdict judgements or causal attributions. However, when race is not a central feature of the case, making race salient outside the trial may increase levels of racial bias for some mock jurors. When the defendant was Black, a race-specific article appeared to backfire, producing the harshest sentencing recommendation compared to race-neutral and general race articles. Conversely, for the Indigenous defendant, any mention of race produced harsher recommended sentences relative to no mention of race. Results do not seem to parallel those found in U.S. race-salience studies. Rather, this specific race-salience technique may be detrimental to a minority defendant's case in a Canadian context.

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Keywords Agenda-setting, Indigenous defendants, Juror decision making, Media, Race salience
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Journal Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
McManus, L. (Laura), Maeder, E.M, & Yamamoto, S. (Susan). (2018). The role of defendant race and racially charged media in Canadian mock juror decision making. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 60(2), 266–295. doi:10.3138/cjccj.2017-0035.r1