24 years ago, the city of LA burned during the Rodney King riots. Three years later, a mostly black jury acquitted O.J. Simpson for two murders he probably committed. The motivation in both instances? The deep mistrust and sense of outrage African Americans felt towards a police force that continuously brutalized them.
Prosecutors will either dismiss or retry disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on five of eighteen counts stemming from his corruption trial. Blagojevich will remain in Bureau of Prison custody while serving his 14-year prison term, while his attorneys petition the Seventh Circuit for en banc.
Last year's jury decisions in racially-charged investigations were only the most recent to reveal the schism in the country's perceptions of how race intersects with justice. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archives, here is a look back over more than twenty years of data on race and the jury system.