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The Effect of Pretrial Publicity and Defendant’s socioeconomic status in judicial sentence

Posted by Ivan on November 21, 2010

Ivan Muhammad Agung


This study examined the effects of pretrial publicity (positive or negative) and defendant’s socioeconomic status (high or low) in judicial sentences. This experiment used factorial design 2 x 2. Subjects were 60 law students of Gadjah Mada University. They were assigned randomly to one of four conditions. They read fictitious newspapers account of an alleged murder and a court case, then made judgments, and sentenced the defendant. The results showed: (a) the judicial sentences were significantly higher in the negative pretrial publicity than positive pretrial publicity, (b) the judicial sentences were not significantly different between defendant’s high socioeconomic status and low socioeconomic status, and (c) no significant interaction between pretrial publicity and defendant’s socioeconomic status. Legal and psychological implications are discussed.

Keywords: pretrial publicity, defendant’s socioeconomic status, judicial sentences

This article published in  Indigenous. Vol 10. No 1, 80-94. 2008 download


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