Date of Submission


Document Type



Criminal Justice


Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, Ph.D.


Criminal Injustice, Criminal Justice System, Race and Social Class, Sentencing Disparities, Vignette-based Survey, Judges and Juries


Sentences (Criminal procedure), Race discrimination, Jury ethics, Judicial ethics, Socioeconomic status, Discrimination in criminal justice administration, Social conflict, Verdicts, Criminal justice, Administration of


Prior research has found that bias, along with other extralegal factors, leads to the sentencing disparities in the criminal justice system throughout the United States. The criminal justice system has implemented reforms to address these disparities. Furthering research on this issue, I analyze previous studies that tried to determine the effects of bias on the decisions made by judges and juries. Most importantly, the present study aimed to determine the effects of race and socioeconomic class of the defendant on the decisions on potential jurors using a vignette based survey with randomized assignment. The results suggest that the potential jurors’ decisions regarding the level of dangerousness, guilt or innocence of the defendant, and recommended sentence are indeed impacted by the race and socioeconomic status of the defendant. The study results demonstrate that extralegal factors influence potential jurors’ decisions, inducing disparity. This indicates the need for more reform, specifically, more bias education and training.