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BIAS IN THE COURTROOM: RACE AND SEX EFFECTS OF ATTORNEYS ON JUROR VERDICTS

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Abstract:

The evidence on the effects of a defendant's race and sex on juror verdicts prompted the current study on the influence of the attorney's race and sex on juridical decisions. In a mock jury trial, 127 subjects evaluated the guilt or innocence of a defendant accused of murder. The attorney's race (black or white) and sex (male or female) were systematically varied. Results indicated a significant main effect for the influence of the race of the attorney on jurors' verdicts. It was revealed that defendants represented by black attorneys are more likely to be found guilty than defendants represented by white attorneys. The findings, however, failed to reveal a significant main effect for attorney sex or a significant sex by race interaction effect on jurors' perceptions of the defendant's guilt. It was concluded that future research should consider the effects of the race of attorneys on juror verdicts.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1981.9.1.81

Publication date: January 1, 1981

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