Thursday, July 26, 2007

There is an interesting and relevant study on the relation between jury diversification and jury deliberation competency that was recently published. It can be found at

The researchers concluded: 1.that diverse juries deliberate longer,
2. cite more case-relevant facts during deliberation, 3. make fewer factual errors, 4. and are better at correcting inaccurate statements by jury members, than all white juries.

In short, racially diverse juries are more comprehensive and remain truer to the facts of the case then all white juries. Importantly, the author explains how these finding presuppose that the mere expectation of deliberating with people from different races positively effects how trial information is processed.

The findings are directly applicable to Rev. Pinkney’s legal situation in multiple ways.

1. Explains why a racially diverse jury wouldn’t convict him in the first trial

2. Since the prosecutor preempted 4 potential blacks during jury selection, in closed session mind you, the competency of the jury was compromised.

3. The role of juror expectation in trial processing:

A. Since, one juror accused Rev. Pinkney attorney of making drug deals in the Berrien County Court house parking lot (one aspect of biased jury motion), it indicates the jurors expectations were negatively biased by providing evidence of the jurors’ hostile state of mind. His attorney also failed to demand that the juror be dismissed (the ineffective assistance of council motion).

B. The researchers also documented empirical studies demonstrating how negative pretrial media coverage increases the probability white jurors find a black person guilty. All the local media reported that the recall election was thrown out because of fraud. Since evidentiary standards for civil proceedings are lower then for criminal trials, questionable “evidence” was publicly taken as fact before Rev. Pinkney ever had an opportunity to defend himself. This study demonstrates that these factors would produce juror expectations that negatively affect their capacity to process trial information.