Samuel R. Sommers of Tufts University is one of the leading experts on "race salience," or the study of under what conditions defendant race influences white jurors. In the decade since he and colleague Phoebe Ellsworth first published on this topic, their research has garnered widespread interest both among researchers and in the courts. In the current issue of The Jury Expert, he clarifies some misconceptions about the theory, including:
- Misconception #1: "Race salient" means simply informing mock jurors of the defendant's race.
- Misconception #2: White juror bias cannot occur when racial issues are salient at trial.
- Misconception #3: Salient racial issues at trial always lead to White juror leniency.
- Misconception #4: All race-salience manipulations have equal impact.
- Colorful juries more competent (January 3, 2008)
- Are juries fair? Beliefs race-dependent, poll finds (January 22, 2008)
- On police, profiling, and Henry Gates (guest essay by Sam Sommers, July 28, 2009)
- Not this time, high court rules in Snyder v. Louisiana (March 21, 2008)
- Persuading with Probability: The Prosecution of O.J. Simpson
- The Convoluted Spectrum of White Guilt Reactions: A Review of Emerging Literature
- The Reptile Brain, Mammal Heart and (Sometimes Perplexing) Mind of the Juror: Toward a Triune Trial Strategy
- Tattoos, Tolerance, Technology, and TMI: Welcome to the land of the Millennials (aka Generation Y)
- Presumed Prejudice, Actual Prejudice, No Prejudice: Skilling v. U.S.
- Emotions in the courtroom: "Need for affect" in juror decision-making
Sam Sommer's excellent blog, The Science of Small Talk