Race and ethnicity influences on mock-juror evaluations of eyewitness testimony.

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These experiments were the first to manipulate both defendant and eyewitness race/ethnicity to examine their influence on mock jurors’ decisions in a criminal case. In Experiment 1, Black mock jurors rated the testimony of an eyewitness as more credible and more important to their decisions when the eyewitness and defendant were of the same race, while White mock jurors rated all eyewitnesses similarly. In Experiment 2, Black and Hispanic mock jurors rated the testimony of a minority eyewitness as more important when the defendant in the case was of the same ethnicity but did not differ from White mock jurors in verdicts or sentencing decisions. Participants’ political beliefs and confidence in the criminal justice system were associated with lengthier prison sentence recommendations, and system confidence was also associated with more guilty verdicts and more favorable evaluations of eyewitness testimony.

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Jury decision-making. Legal psychology. Eyewitness testimony. Racial bias. Political beliefs.

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