The Impact of Ethnicity, Immigration Status, and Socioeconomic Status on Juror Decision Making

Russ K.E. Espinoza, Cynthia Willis-Esqueda, Suzette Toscano, Jennifer Coons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to examine how ethnicity, immigration status, and socioeconomic status (SES) may contribute to juror bias. A total of 320 Euro-American venire persons were assigned to 1 of 8 criminal court trial transcript conditions that varied defendant ethnicity (Mexican or Canadian), immigrant status (undocumented or documented), and SES (low or high). Dependent measures were verdict, sentencing, culpability, and trait attributions. Results indicated that the low-SES undocumented Mexican defendant was found guilty more often, given a more severe sentence, thought to be more culpable, and rated lower on a number of trait measures compared with all other conditions. Subtle bias theories, such as aversive racism, appear to best explain the biases in juror decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-216
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Law

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