Pretrial publicity and civil cases: A two-way street?

Brian H. Bornstein, Brooke L. Whisenhunt, Robert J. Nemeth, Deborah L. Dunaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Published pretrial publicity (PTP) research has been conducted almost exclusively with criminal cases and has focused on PTP that is detrimental to the defense. The current research examined the effects of PTP in a civil case to determine if PTP can have a biasing effect against either the defendant or the plaintiff in civil litigation. In Experiment 1, participants exposed to PTP biased against the defendant were more likely to reach a liable verdict than participants who read a control article or PTP biased against the plaintiff. Experiment 2 demonstrated that a judicial admonition did not reduce the biasing effect of PTP about a civil defendant. However, participants given the admonition both before and after the trial evidence viewed the defendant as less culpable than participants given the admonition after the trial only or not at all. The implications for the legal system are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalLaw and human behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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