A Duke University study released today found that black defendants were found guilty 81 percent of the time by all-white juries in Florida, whereas white defendants were found guilty 66 percent of the time, as reported by Mother Jones (video below).
However, a single black juror makes the convictions rates virtually equal, at 71 percent for black defendants and 73 for whites facing similar charges.
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Patrick Bayer, a senior author of the study and chairman of Duke’s economics department said: “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.”
“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.”