The judge in a jury trial is charged with excusing prospective jurors who will not be impartial. To assess impartiality, prospective jurors are typically asked whether they can be fair. Using an experimental paradigm, we found that small changes in jurors' self-reported confidence in their ability to be fair affected judges' decisions about bias but did not affect the judgments of either attorneys or jurors. We suggest why a judge's role and unique relationship with jurors is likely to foster a decision strategy based on reported juror confidence, and we discuss the implications of our analysis for current legal debates over jury selection practices. Unexpected patterns in our results also highlight the ways in which perceptions of impartiality are affected, in part, by the social characteristics of the observer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science