Justice Depends on Color of Your Skin (Infographic)

If you are a black defendant, hold out for a jury with at least one black member. An all-white jury is much more likely to convict you. If you are a white criminal, your odds of evading punishment improve if there are no black members of the jury.

That is the conclusion of a new study led by Duke University researchers. As shown in the infographic below, a black defendant whose case is heard before an all-white jury has an 81% chance of being convicted. A white defendant appearing before a similar jury will be convicted 66% of the time.

Add one black juror, and watch how the odds change. A black defendant’s chance of being convicted drops to 71%, while a white’s increases to 73%.

The researchers focused on 700 trials in Florida’s Sarasota and Lake Counties, between 2000 and 2010. While this study deals only with felony trials, the implications reach beyond the court system.

Racism on juries does not exist in isolation. It is a cultural reflection. The presidential race is a telling example. Barack Obama has been bombarded with thinly disguised (and not always disguised) racist attacks from the moment of his election. The Arizona law requiring anyone to show their documents, for the “offense” of appearing non-white, is another example.

The Duke University study is a wake-up call. It puts numbers to racism. The racist divide is old, unhealthy thinking. It is time to let go of the color line.


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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

It might be hidden but it's always there, unfortunately.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold3 years ago

Ain't that the truth!! No one is capable of being color blind when it comes to people, no matter what they say.

Gianna Macias
Gianna Macias3 years ago

However, the greatest injusticies depend on the species.

Lauren B.

Race and class bias. No surprises here, but how do we change this?

Margaret C.
Margaret C.3 years ago

I guess I'm just a fool, because I've served on jury duty and I've always looked at the case, not the race or gender of who was involved. While in the jury room, you talk and sometimes argue, but in the end, the issue should be resolved once you go back over the transcripts of the trial. And sometimes, race did play into it, but I would always remind those who were seeing race instead of the facts of the case, to remember why we are there. In juried cases, we are the last door to justice. And those on juries, should think about this: How would you like to be the one on trial and know you will not get a fair trial because you were being judged on something you can't change - the color of your skin. There is an old movie, and every time someone would ask what was my favorite movie, I'd always say, "12 Angry Men." This movie reminds everyone to be always questioning and to always try to be fair, regardless of your personal prejudices.

DeAnna Collins
DeAnna Collins3 years ago

I wish we were all color blind

Steve R.
Steve R.3 years ago

Well it's simple really.

Use all black jurors for white criminals and all white jurors for black criminals.

That way, justice is certain to be done and no scumbags will be set free!

Makes sense to me!

Barbara S.

These stereotypes begin in the home, and are exacerbated in the schools and the churches. Whenever parents stop indoctrinating their children against others, and stop allowing others to do the same, perhaps this racism and fear of someone else's differences will go away. Sadly, this won't happen in my lifetime or yours. All we can do is attempt to teach our grandchildren, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces, nephews and cousins that differences are not a challenge - they are a blessing we need to recognize.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Thanks for this article.

Fred Urbasek
Past Member 3 years ago

Wow, you just found this out. HELL-O. Where were you the past 200 yrs.