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The Role of Age in Jury Selection and Trial Outcomes

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  • Shamena Anwar
  • Patrick Bayer
  • Randi Hjalmarsson

Abstract

This paper uses data from 700 felony trials in Sarasota and Lake Counties in Florida from 2000-2010 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 on trial outcomes, the paper employs 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 the inclusion of broad set of controls including county, time, and judge fixed effects. These findings imply that many cases are decided differently for reasons that are completely independent of the true nature of the evidence in the case – i.e., that there is substantial randomness in the application of criminal justice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-8.

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Length: 40
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:13-8

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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

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  1. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 12003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eisenberg, Theodore & Garvey, Stephen P & Wells, Martin T, 2001. "Forecasting Life and Death: Juror Race, Religion, and Attitude toward the Death Penalty," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 277-311, Part I Ju.
  3. Richard W. Johnson & David Neumark, 1997. "Age Discrimination, Job Separations, and Employment Status of Older Workers: Evidence from Self-Reports," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 779-811.
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Cited by:
  1. Mark Schweizer, 2013. "The civil standard of proof – what is it, actually?," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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