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Jurors' Subjective Experiences of Deliberations in Criminal Cases

Authors

  • Alix S. Winter,

  • Matthew Clair


  • For their helpful comments, the authors thank Lawrence D. Bobo, Alexandra Killewald, Cecilia Ridgeway, Robert J. Sampson, Christopher Winship, and members of Harvard's Qualifying Paper Seminar, Proseminar on Inequality and Social Policy, Quantitative Methods in Sociology Workshop, and ISF Workshop. The second author acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, grant number DGE1144152.

Abstract

Research on jury deliberations has largely focused on the implications of deliberations for criminal defendants' outcomes. In contrast, this article considers jurors' outcomes by integrating subjective experience into the study of deliberations. We examine whether jurors' feelings that they had enough time to express themselves vary by jurors' gender, race, or education. Drawing on status characteristics theory and a survey of more than 3,000 real-world jurors, we find that the majority of jurors feel that they had enough time to express themselves. However, blacks and Hispanics, and especially blacks and Hispanics with less education, are less likely to feel so. Jurors' verdict preferences do not account for these findings. Our findings have implications for status characteristics theory and for legal cynicism among members of lower-status social groups.

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