The effects of ethnicity, SES, and crime status on juror decision making: A cross-cultural examination of Euopean American and Mexican American Mock Jurors

Cynthia Willis Esqueda, Russ K.E. Espinoza, Scott E. Culhane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


In two studies, a defendant's ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and crime status were varied for effects on verdict decisions, sentencing recommendations, culpability assignments, and trait assessments. In Study 1, European Americans (N = 221) provided a low SES Mexican American defendant with more guilt verdicts, a lengthier sentence, and higher culpability ratings, compared to a high SES Mexican American or a European American defendant, regardless of crime status. Higher negative trait ratings occurred for a low SES Mexican American who committed a low status crime. In Study 2, Mexican Americans (N = 136) showed no differences for guilt verdicts, recommended sentence, or culpability assignment. These findings demonstrate that European American bias toward Mexican Americans may operate in all phases of the legal process, and future research should address specific contexts where bias applies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-199
Number of pages19
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2008



  • Crime status
  • Defendant's socioeconomic status
  • Ethnicity
  • Euro-American jurors
  • Juror decision making
  • Legal process
  • Mexican American jurors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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