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Evaluating the Effects of Pretrial Publicity on Mock-Jury Deliberations
AuthorStaggs, Sarah Marie
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study addresses individual and group-level effects of jury deliberation and decision making. Using a real case, this study tests pretrial publicity (PTP) effects over time, starting in the pretrial phase and evaluating for media effects throughout the mock-jury decision making process. The sample was composed of mock-jurors (N = 49 deliberating groups of five/six persons). Results address (1) a primacy effect of PTP exposure over time and general perceptions associated with the PTP exposure, (2) attributions of individual cognitive story and verdict preference confidence, and (3) juror- and jury-level characteristics associated with deliberation and communicative influence. Results reveal that the order in which participants saw PTP had differing effects on individual pre-deliberation decision making, but had no significant differing effects on final verdict decisions across groups. The only juror characteristic that had significant effects on the deliberation were perceived communicative influence, perceived participation, need for cognition, and motivation to process and discuss case evidence. In terms of discussing PTP in the deliberation, the only aggregated group effect on the verdict was trust in the jury system. Past research suggests that juries are formed to make unbiased decisions (Gastil, 2008), and in this case, jury deliberation potentially attenuated the presence of media bias.
Degree ProgramGraduate College