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NCJ Number: 200572 Find in a Library
Title: Juror Decision Making in Hate Crime Cases
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:June 2003  Pages:193-213
Author(s): Phyllis B. Gerstenfeld
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A mock-juror design was used to examine whether three main variables -- the offender's race, the victim's race, and the "juror's" level of racism -- affected the "juror's" decisions in a case in which the defendant was charged with a hate crime.
Abstract: The sample consisted of 190 volunteers, all of whom were residents of California's Central Valley. Of these, 101 were undergraduate students, and the remaining 89 were nonstudent adults. Participants' ages ranged from 18 to 86, with a mean age of 28.9. A total of 77 were male and 113 were female. The self-reported racial and ethnic backgrounds of the participants were as follows: 58 percent White, 22 percent Latino, 9 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 3 percent African-American, and 7 percent "other." Participants were given a hate-crime vignette in which the ethnicity of the victim and offender varied. Participants were asked to render a decision as to whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty of each crime. Should they decide a defendant was guilty, they were asked to choose one of three sentence options. For each of the charges, participants were asked to state, on a scale of 1 to 10, how certain they were of the defendant's guilt. Contrary to the study's original hypothesis, African-American offenders were not treated more harshly by the jurors in this case; in fact, the opposite was true, since the White offender was convicted more often and the jurors were more certain of his guilt. Study limitations are discussed, and suggestions are offered for future research. 3 tables, 6 notes, and 60 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Hate Crimes; Juror characteristics; Jury decisionmaking; Jury research; Offender profiles; Racial discrimination; Victim profiles
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