April 19, 2006

"When Diversity Adds Fairness" or "When Blacks Help Blacks:"

The LA Times writes:

When diversity adds fairness

The question still plagues many Angelenos: Would the verdict of the racially charged Rodney King trial have been different if the jury had not been predominantly white?

The question that still plagues me is would O.J. Simpson be in prison rather than on the back nine if clueless feminist prosecutor Marcia Clark hadn't tried to pack the O.J. jury with women, thus allowing wily defense attorney Johnnie Cochran to pack the jury with black women.

Although social scientists say juries usually manage to produce defensible verdicts, researchers have now found that more diverse juries — specifically ones that include black and white members — are more likely to share information, make fewer errors in evaluating the facts and perhaps reach fairer verdicts than all-white juries. The study, conducted with mock jurists, was published in this month's issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology...

The mock jurors were then shown a 30-minute video summary of the trial of a black defendant charged with sexual assault. The prosecution presented testimony from two victims, neither of whom could identify the assailant's face, though one could describe a scar on his torso. The core of their case was forensic evidence from semen and hair at the crime scene that were consistent, but not a definitive match, with the defendant. The defense focused on the lack of eyewitness evidence and unreliable methods used by the lab that did the DNA analysis...

In addition, 50% of the participants on the all-white juries said the defendant was guilty before deliberations, while only 34% of the whites in the diverse groups made that judgment.

In other words, this study proves that if you are black, the more blacks you have on your jury, the better the chance you have of beating the rap. I think we all already knew that from the O.J. case, and from common sense.

Sommers' study did not include an all-black jury. That was partially due to the racial makeup of the area, he says, but also because he chose to focus on the most common categories of jury composition. "In most jurisdictions in the country, black jurors are the minority," he said. "That is the typical experience for black jurors."

Nor did Sommers' study include a case where the black defendant was clearly guilty, as in the O.J. case. I wonder why?

What this test was definitely designed not to consider was if you are white, how much worse are your chances with more blacks on the jury? That's a crucial question in the Winston-Salem DA's hunt for the Great White Defendants on the Duke lacrosse team. (La Shawn Barber is providing close coverage of the case.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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