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April 18, 2012


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TomM-- without reading I can give a life experience opinion. Juries made up of whites convict black defendants when the State proves its case, Black jurors convict black defendants when the State proves its case, except in the rare instance of black juror nullification, when a defense lawyer plays up the 'stickin' it to the Man' angle. that happens about-- oh-- 16% of the time. "Lies, damnable lies, and statistics." Words to live by.

Kevin B

Junk. Science.

Jane (where is Jon Corzine?)

"I think this is the first strong and convincing evidence that the racial composition of the jury pool actually has a major effect on trial outcomes,"

I guess they missed the OJ trial.


the report could also have said:

juries with one or more African American members of the jury pool free black criminals by a higher percentage.

Notice there was no attempt to find out if these convictions were incorrect. I assume the sample size of white defendants was significanly smaller than African American defendants. the 16% difference could be as simple as too small a sample size where one more or less conviction skews the percentages.


I seem to recall if all the black jurors were struck from a jury pool, the defense may argue that the pool was tainted but I'm not in a hurry to confirm my recollection.
I will say my husband and I experienced on DC juries that black jurors were more likely than we were to find guilt by black defendants-or potential indictees . For one thing they knew the territories where the crimes cured much better than we did and for another those people were more likely to harm the people in the jurors' neighborhoods than they were in ours.


Racism. Lovely.

Rob Crawford

They found what they set out to find. Shocka.


1. Did they control for the types of crimes and differences in the defendants besides race?
2. Did different jury make up effect white conviction rates?

Only had time to glance so don't know.

Ignatius J Donnelly

i don't believe it but I do believe that not wearing seat belts is actually safer because you are more likely to be ejected from the car thus sparing you from beling crushed or drowned.

Captain Hate

Notice there was no attempt to find out if these convictions were incorrect.

Yes, completely lacking from these types of studies is whether a series of laughably absurd verdicts were reached by either side.

Rick Ballard


I don't feel like looking either but I'll add

3. Was a control established for the use of public defenders?

Just on the off chance that a guilty as charged defendant might roll the dice using public money. The downside is the risk of a heavier sentence than a plea bargain would draw. I'd also like to know if a control for three strike convictions was utilized. That's one where rolling the dice is definitely a plus.


the study makes no attempt to determine prior convictions of the defendants nor do they check to see if there are conviction rate difference for the various levels of crimes ...


It's DUKE, guys.

Danube of Thought

I sense a fresh outpouring of preening moral superiority from the usual suspects will begin any moment now.

Jack is Back!


From the study, they are counting Hispanics in both Sarasota and Lake Counties as Whites for the purpose of the study. 7.9% of population in Sarasota is Hispanic and its 12.1% in Lake. The study uses two sets: White and Black.

George Zimmerman should have no problem if he is tried in either county since he is considered White!

Carl Pham

I don't see why a +16% rate of conviction by all-white jury pools is evidence of prejudice. For all we know, what we have here is a -16% rate of conviction by jury pools with at least one black. That is, it could be the latter is letting the guilty off, rather the former is convicting innocents.

One might reasonably think that jurors want to look fair to their peers -- proximately, the rest of the jury pool. If the rest of the pool is white, their only considerations might be fairness or attentivity or intelligence, whatever. If some of the rest of the pool are black, they might worry about being seen as racist if they vote to convict. Hence, it could well be that they lean towards acquittal, even if the evidence doesn't point that way.

But any way you parse it, the idea that blacks are ALWAYS convicted at rates above their rates of actual criminal behavior is...well, racist.


It's Duke following Serwer following Raw Story, as Austin Powers would say ' now I'm feeling woozy' after one of the time travel episodes.

Carl Pham

Maybe I should add that the similarity that comes to my mind is to sexism. Would female defendants be more or less likely to be convicted if the jury pool were all male or just mostly male? My guess is if that jury pool contained just one or two women, even an all-male jury would be less likely to convict, for fear of being seen as sexist.


Speaking of dog food …

“And when talking about seniors, seniors love getting junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world,” Reid continued.


from the study ...

with jury pools having 4+ blacks

conviction rates ...

Black defendants 63%
White defendants 80%

(would seem to say that blacks are biased against whites)

with jury pools having 3 blacks

conviction rates ...

Black defendants 73%
White defendants 63%

(would seem to say that blacks are biased against blacks)

with jury pools having 2 blacks

conviction rates ...

Black defendants 68%
White defendants 73%

(would seem to say that blacks are biased against whites)

with jury pools having 1 black

conviction rates ...

Black defendants 73%
White defendants 74%

(would seem to say no bias found)

with jury pools having 0 blacks

conviction rates ...

Black defendants 81%
White defendants 66%

(would seem to say that whites are biased against blacks)

the study is very unclear about the average number of charges filed against each defendant by race ...

they count any guilty verdict and only count non guilty if all charges were dismissed ...

any defendant with multiple charges would be more likely to get a guilty verdict ...

among the 333 black defendants there were a total of 356 charges for:
Any drug charge
Any murder charge
Any robbery charge
Any other violent charge
Any weapons charge

among the 379 white defendants there were a total of 234 charges for:
Any drug charge
Any murder charge
Any robbery charge
Any other violent charge
Any weapons charge

the biggest reason for this large difference appears to be drug and weapons charges ...
It would seem to be that those types of charges would have the highest rates of conviction as they are almost purely evidence based (you either had the drug/gun or you didn't) so a possible answer to why the difference in conviction rates could be that black defendants are charged much more often with crimes that are easily convicted ...

not sure this study proves racism but it certainly is interesting ...


Funny. I just completed my own study of the exact same topic using regression anaylsis, multivariant sequencing and goat entrails.

My results prove you're all racists!

Remit reparations payment now.


Speaking of seniors...shouldn't you be about ready for a nice retirement home just about now, Harry? You effing dirtbag.


Neo, it turns out that S.1789 is worthwhile. It's Harry Reid who is not.

The Postmaster General's approach, killing rural delivery, Saturday delivery, and diluting the delivery standards all for the sake of the postal unions won't save the USPS -- it will hasten its demise.

Jane (where is Jon Corzine?)


Dick Clark died


That is shocking, Jane. I mean it's shocking to me he was...still alive.

Rick Ballard


What color were the goats?

Jane (where is Jon Corzine?)

I think he died when he heard that Obama had a paw for lunch.


Dick was my grandfather's sister's (Julia Barnard Clark) son.


I was going to make a great point, but JeffC covered it, times 100.

Jane (where is Jon Corzine?)

Sorry SBW.


Dick got his start, as did his father, at our family newspaper's radio station, WRUN. I knew his mom, Aunt Jule, much better than Dick. (Jule was the only girl of seven children) but Dick and his cousin, my mother, wrote occasionally. I am off now to tell her.


Good grief. I think Tom has joined the funemployment bunch.



So sorry.


He started working in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in upstate New York run by his father and uncle. It wasn't long before the teenager was on the air, filling in for the weatherman and the announcer.

It never ceases to amaze me at the connections around here.


RIP Dick Clark- condolences to the family

Dave (in MA)

My favorite Dick Clark moment.


You got me there, Rick. I take a certain prode in unwrapping the various meta themes on JOM but I don't have any idea what you're getting at.

Condolences to his family, though. Was he a centenarian of did it just feel that way?


Sorry, sbw.

Rick Ballard

"You got me there, Rick"


You neglected to specify the color of the goats from which the entrails were acquired. Regression anaylsis and multivariant sequencing are well and good but if you didn't make the proper adjustment for the color of the goats, then your results may be questionable.




But you're all still racists.

Jack is Back!


Our condolences to your family. Dick Clark was an icon of early TV for me. I am not much of a R&R person but back when I was a kid he made the music fun.

Dave (in MA): LOL. Great scene. We have a few Jony's here I believe.


He's where every song gets a 98 and has a good beat you can dance to.


Duku University, of the Duke 88 fame? Not a word of this study is to be believed, including a and the.


Seems like a good place for a shout-out. JustOneMinute and commenter Extraneous got a mention in the introduction to Harry Stein's latest book, "No Matter What..Tthey'll Call This Book Racist: How Our Fear of Talking Honestly About Race Hurts Us All"


Thanks, all.

Telling my mother prompted more interesting stories about the early WRUN radio station days.


Categorizing this under "statistical noise". When you have a smallish sample size, there's going to be variation more than if they'd used more counties because of the law of large numbers. There might be some effect - because of the fact that African-Americans in general are more likely to be politically liberal (providing a race-neutral reason for the prosecutor to challenge them) - but the research seems far from convincing. The number of cases is far to small to draw significant conclusions.


Neo: Reid is a fool. My Mother got her first computer when she was in her 80s and for more than 10 years she carried on an active correspondence with more than a dozen old friends. She did most of her shopping online, she belonged to an online bridge group, and she used her computer to travel the world, publish her art, get the daily news and watch the stock market, and listen to music. She despised junk mail. I am now a senior and I do not know anyone who does not have a computer and a cell. Who reads junk mail?

Jim Ryan

Dick was my grandfather's sister's (Julia Barnard Clark) son.

Your first cousin once removed, I think.


I was part of a jury pool for a murder trial. Murders are rare in my county, so the pool was huge, well over 100 people. Out all that, only one was black. And of course, she was picked.

So I wonder what the odds are, if you are black living in a predominately white country, of being a juror. Probably way out of whack, I would guess.

Tim Ozenne

I'm curious. Who is it that hangs around all these court rooms and records the race of the pools and juries? Does the state collect and release these data? Do they include also sex, age, occupation, or other data in the statistics?
Is this just "selected" FL counties, or all counties? Are comparable data available for all states, or at least other states?

Tim Ozenne

Never mind. The answer to my main question is in the article, sort of. It does reveal why only race is reported.

Eugene V Debs

If the Victoria's Secret Catalog is considered junk mail then I'm all for junk mail.


There are many other possibilities here that might slant the conviction rates irrespective of the jury pool/s.

Black defendants are more likely to have had prior offenses or convictions.

A juror is going to give extra weight to convicting a "recidivist".

This type of Study almost NEVER factors in all of the variables.


crypticguise - past acts are not allowed as evidence in a trial, so neither jurors nor jury pools would have any knowledge of potentional recidivism when rendering a verdict.

Rich Rostrom

90% of criminal defendants in U.S. District Courts plead guilty and 97% of all convictions are the result of plea...

Working back from these numbers - it turns out that 73% of defendants who go totrial are acquitted. (Trials are 10% of defendants, but only 3% of convictions.)



Yes, Jim, first cousin once removed.

BTW, to the surprise of no one here, the New York Times got it wrong. The Times said Dick Clark's father owned the radio station.

I'll bet even Tiger Beat got it right.

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