ERIC Number: EJ810585
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Race and Jury Selection: Psychological Perspectives on the Peremptory Challenge Debate
Sommers, Samuel R.; Norton, Michael I.
American Psychologist, v63 n6 p527-539 Sep 2008
The legal system is a domain of potential relevance for psychologists, whether in the capacity of expert witness or citizen juror. In this article, the authors apply a psychological framework to legal debate surrounding the impact of race on the process of jury selection. More specifically, the authors consider race and the peremptory challenge, the procedure by which attorneys may remove prospective jurors without explanation. This debate is addressed from a psychological perspective by (a) examining traditional justifications for the practice of the peremptory challenge, (b) reviewing research regarding the influence of race on social judgment, (c) considering empirical investigations that examine directly race and peremptory challenge use, and (d) assessing current jury selection procedures intended to curtail racial discrimination. These analyses converge to suggest that the discretionary nature of the peremptory challenge renders it precisely the type of judgment most likely to be biased by race. The need for additional psychological investigation of race and jury selection is emphasized, and specific avenues for such research are identified.
Descriptors: Racial Factors, Psychological Patterns, Legal Responsibility, Racial Bias, Racial Differences, Lawyers, Social Attitudes, Racial Discrimination, Court Litigation, Consciousness Raising
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A