The purpose of this study was to examine whether black (n = 90), Indigenous (n = 92), and white (n = 94) mock jurors would make harsher decisions in trials involving other-race defendants. Jury-eligible community members recruited via Qualtrics read a fictional impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle case in which the defendant’s race varied (black, Indigenous, white). They then made verdict/sentencing decisions and completed measures of stereotypes. We predicted that mock jurors who endorsed negative racial stereotypes would be more likely to vote guilty and recommend harsher sentences for other-race defendants. Instead, we found that positive personally held stereotypes predicted leniency among white jurors judging Indigenous defendants but no such effects for other trial party combinations. Overall, the black defendant received significantly more lenient decisions as compared to the white defendant. Although no formal policy ensures that specific groups are represented on juries, these data indicate that people process trial information differently as a joint function of juror and defendant race.

Indigenous peoples, juror decision making, Race salience, Representativeness
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Maeder, E.M, & Yamamoto, S. (Susan). (2019). Social identity in the canadian courtroom: Effects of juror and defendant race. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 61(4), 24–44. doi:10.3138/cjccj.2018-0057