The Biased Jury: A Look at the Effects of Pretrial Publicity, Anger, and Remorse on the Decisions of the Jury
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The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution grants the accused individual the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury. To insure that this standard is upheld and exercised, the court system has deemed that it is the judge’s duty to remind the jury through instruction of the defendant’s rights. Jurors are informed by the judge that they should exercise impartial decision making based upon the evidence and facts presented by the parties trying the case when deciding upon a verdict. While in theory this would indeed constitute the fair trial by jury, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the fact that individuals are subject to their own biases and stereotypes with the potential to influence their decisions. The purpose of this thesis is to inform the reader of the history and systems employed in the selection of jurors, as well as evaluate the biases that those jurors may encounter. This paper will specifically look at studies in which the effects of pretrial publicity, anger, and remorse has been shown to bias the jury.