Racial Prejudice, Juror Empathy, and Sentencing in Death Penalty Cases
In capital trials archival research documents race-of-victim discrimination while the experimental research supports a race-of-offender effect. Using interviews with jurors, Edelman sought to reconcile this conflict and explain how and when race effects are likely to occur. White jurors were more likely to discount mitigating evidence when the victim was white. White jurors empathized more with a white than black victim. Victim race also had an indirect effect on the evaluation of the defendant. Killers of whites were evaluated less positively than killers of blacks. These two effects suggest that white jurors were less likely to hold a life sentence position when a black defendant was convicted for murdering a white victim.
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African American aggravating evidence Baldus black defendants black jurors black male black victim black-defendant/black-victim black-defendant/white-victim Capital Jury Project capital punishment capital trial consistent Court crime Critical Ratio death eligible death penalty death sentence deathworthiness defendant attribution process defendant evaluations defendant schema deliberation sentence positions disparities dual process model effects of race egalitarian values experimental literature Fact Mentions final sentence outcome hindsight bias homicide in-group bias in-group identification instruction comprehension interracial linear regression logistic regression mitigating evidence evaluations mitigating factors murder negative internal attribution normative structure offender perceived percent perceptions of dangerousness pre-deliberation sentence positions Prediction 5b punishment race and sentencing race effects race is significant race-based race-of-victim effects reach a sentencing regression analysis result salience sample score sentencing phase sentencing task significant after controlling social comparison Standardized Coefficients statutory aggravating stereotype studies variables victim empathy victim evaluation process victim impact statements white jurors white victim