Duke University released a study on Tuesday that examined the impact of race in jury polls in Florida, and there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that, according to the study, which looked at 700 cases between 2000 and 2010, all-white juries are significantly more likely to convict black defendants than white ones. The good news is that a single black juror can alter that dynamic.
The study’s senior author is Patrick Bayer, chairman of Duke University's economics department. He says the findings imply that criminal justice is “highly uneven” because conviction rates can vary with differences in the jury pool. "Simply put, the luck of the draw on the racial composition of the jury pool has a lot to do with whether someone is convicted and that raises obvious concerns about the fairness of our criminal justice system,"
"I think this is the first strong and convincing evidence that the racial composition of the jury pool actually has a major effect on trial outcomes," said senior author Patrick Bayer, chairman of Duke's Economics Department.
"Our Sixth Amendment right to a trial by a fair and impartial jury of our peers is a bedrock of the criminal justice system in the U.S., and yet, despite the importance of that right, there's been very little systematic analysis of how the composition of juries actually affects trial outcomes, how the rules that we have in place for selecting juries impact those outcomes," Bayer said.
Duke University study:
The impact of jury race in criminal trials:
A shameful race based system of justice.