Stereotypes About Jurors Are ‘Turned On Their Heads’


While many lawyers have long relied on stereotypes to figure out how potential jurors might lean, those characterizations are increasingly turned on their heads, trial consultants tell the Baltimore Sun. Women can be harder on rape victims who put themselves in risky situations. Business people could be bitter toward companies because of economic cutbacks. And minorities, who are supposed to favor the defense because they distrust law enforcement, often side with prosecutors, while whites sometimes favor black defendants, even if it’s just out of a fear they’ll be labeled racist if they do otherwise.

There’s not much anyone can tell about how jurors will vote from looking at them, experts said. A 2004 paper published in the journal of the American Psychology-Law Society concluded that black jurors only become more receptive to mitigating factors underlying criminal behavior when the defendant is a black person facing the death penalty for killing a white one.

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