Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 409–438 | Cite as

Pretrial publicity, judicial remedies, and jury bias

  • Geoffrey P. Kramer
  • Norbert L. Kerr
  • John S. Carroll


Although past research has established pretrial publicity's potential to bias juror judgment, there has been less attention given to the effectiveness of judicial remedies for combatting such biases. The present study examined the effectiveness of three remedies (judicial instructions, deliberation, and continuance) in combatting the negative impact of different types of pretrial publicity. Two different types of pretrial publicity were examined: (a) factual publicity (which contained incriminating information about the defendant) and (b) emotional publicity (which contained no explicitly incriminating information, but did contain information likely to arouse negative emotions). Neither instructions nor deliberation reduced the impact of either form of publicity; in fact, deliberation strengthened publicity biases. Both social decision scheme analysis and a content analysis of deliberation suggested that prejudicial publicity increases the persuasiveness and/or lessens the persuasibility of advocates of conviction relative to advocates of acquittal. Acontinuance of several days between exposure to the publicity and viewing the trial served as an effective remedy for the factual publicity, but not for the emotional publicity. The article concludes by discussing the potential roles of affect and memory in juror judgment and evaluating the available remedies for pretrial publicity.


Negative Impact Potential Role Social Psychology Content Analysis Negative Emotion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey P. Kramer
    • 2
  • Norbert L. Kerr
    • 1
  • John S. Carroll
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesIndiana University at KokomoKokomo

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