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Pretrial Publicity, Impact on Juries

When a trial is deemed newsworthy by the press, it is likely that information about the nature of the allegations, the character of the defendant, or other case-relevant information is reported in the media. Although the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and a free press, there is concern among the courts and scholars that providing information about a case to potential jury members before a trial may bias the jury pool by creating negative perceptions of the defendant and entrenching jurors' opinions about the defendant's guilt before they hear the evidence that is introduced at trial. Empirical research suggests that exposure to pretrial publicity causes jurors to be more conviction prone, especially when the publicity is designed to ...

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