The Impact on Juror Verdicts of Judicial Instruction to Disregard Inadmissible Evidence: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

The effect on juror verdicts of judicial instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence was evaluated using meta-analysis. One hundred seventy-five hypothesis tests from 48 studies with a combined 8,474 participants were examined. Results revealed that inadmissible evidence (IE) has a reliable effect on verdicts consistent with the content of the IE. Judicial instruction to ignore the inadmissible evidence does not effectively eliminate IE impact. However, if judges provide a rationale for a ruling of inadmissibility, juror compliance may be increased. Contested evidence ruled admissible accentuates that information, resulting in a significant impact on verdicts. Suggestions for how the courts may mitigate the impact of inadmissible evidence more effectively are discussed.

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