The role of age in jury selection and trial outcomes

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2014-01-01

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© 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0022-2186/2014/5704-0039$10.00This paper uses data from more than 700 felony trials in Florida to examine the role of age in jury selection and trial outcomes. The results imply that prosecutors are more likely to use their peremptory challenges to exclude younger members of the jury pool, while defense attorneys exclude older potential jurors. To examine the causal impact of age, we employ a research design that isolates the effect of the random variation in the age composition of the pool of eligible jurors called for jury duty. Consistent with the jury selection patterns, the empirical evidence implies that older jurors are significantly more likely to convict. Results are robust to controls for county, time, and judge fixed effects. Thus, many cases are decided differently for reasons that are completely independent of the nature of the evidence in the case—that is, there is substantial randomness in the application of criminal justice.

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Bayer

Patrick Bayer

Gilhuly Family Distinguished Professor in Economics

Bayer's research focuses on wide range of subjects including racial inequality and segregation, social interactions, housing markets, education, and criminal justice. His most recent work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Econometrica, and the Review of Financial Studies. He is currently working on projects that examine jury representation and its consequences, the intergenerational consequences of residential and school segregation, neighborhood tipping, gentrification, the effect of police and criminal justice interactions on families, and the impact of bail reform.


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