The ethnic representation in juries may have profound effects on the outcome. The continued underrepresenting of the people of color in juries undermines both the credibility and reliability of the case at hand, and the whole justice system (“Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy,” 2014). From a historical point of view, America has had many cases of racial discrimination within and outside the criminal justice system. As a result, if the juries do not have ethnic representation, the accused rights of fair trial may be compromised especially if the jury has no racial balance. Additionally, empathy plays a critical role in making decisions among the juries. Linder (n.d, para. 12) argues that jurors show compassion towards a suspect if they have experienced similar values, beliefs, and norms to that of the accused person. Therefore, the ethnic diversity in the jury may determine the level of harshness the jury shows to the suspect. Attribution theory suggests that stereotypes associated with ethnic groups may also influence the trend the decision takes.
On the contrary, the ethnic representation may not have an influence on the jury decision. The jury does not operate in a law vacuum. Every juror knows very well the need to remain neutral in cases since a final determination with any element of biases can attract a court challenge and end up nullified. Besides, ethnicity is not the only factor that influence the decision of the juries. There are many other factors though subtle that have significant influences. For example, the attractive of the defendant, age, and pre-trial publicity (Robinson, 2015). From this perspective, although ethnicity may have some influence, the level might be insignificant.
Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy. (2014). Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.eji.org/raceandpoverty/juryselection
Robinson, L. (2015). Jury decision making. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from http://www.academia.edu/3591858/Jury_decision_making
Linder, O. D. (n.d.). Juror Empathy and Race. Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/juryseminar/JurorEmpathy.htm