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Racism in the Deliberation Room: Federal Rule of Evidence 606(B) and Jury Reporting Behavior

Amy Kleynhans, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Juror racism in the deliberation room is a violation of a defendant’s right to an impartial jury. If other jurors do not report the occurrence of racism, defendants lack the evidence to move for a new trial. The current studies examine how jurors react to and whether they will report the racist comments of a fellow juror. During participants’ online deliberation, they read the racist comments of someone who they believed to be a fellow participant. In Study 1, the severity and frequency of the comment was manipulated, as well as the race of one of the other co-jurors. In Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to be the foreperson and the content of jury instructions were manipulated. As hypothesized, very few participants reported the racist juror’s comments. Frequency decreased the likelihood of juror reports and co-juror race only had an effect when interacting with the frequency of the comment, such that jurors were less likely to confront when a comment was infrequent and the co-juror was Black. Neither the foreperson nor instruction manipulation influenced reporting levels.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Kleynhans, Amy, "Racism in the Deliberation Room: Federal Rule of Evidence 606(B) and Jury Reporting Behavior" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10616185.