National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Free Press, Fair Trial Data, 1970 (ICPSR 7541)

Principal Investigator(s): Nagel, Stuart S.; Eimermann, Thomas; Reinbolt, Kathleen


This data collection contains information gathered in a 1970 survey of 623 newspaper editors, police chiefs, bar associations, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys from a sample of 166 cities across the country. The study's research objectives were to develop a model for determining the optimum mix of free press and fair trial in pending criminal cases, to compare alternative procedures for handling the free press/fair trial problem, and to compare the attitudes and procedures of the various decisionmakers involved. Information gathered in the survey includes: (1) the degree of pretrial press publicity allowed on pending criminal cases, (2) relevant attitudes and opinions, especially concerning ways of reducing the adverse effects of pretrial publicity while still having an informed public (e.g., the degree to which the public needs to know the details of criminal proceedings, whether the traditional legal remedies of change of venue, voir dire, sequestering, etc., are adequate to neutralize the effects of possibly prejudicial news coverage, and whether the American Bar Association's restrictions on the extent of information lawyers can release represents an infringement upon the people's right to know), (3) the benefits seen as derived from news coverage of criminal cases, and (4) prevailing pretrial procedures by editors, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. Demographic data (e.g., population, region, and whether an SMSA or not) about the 106 cities represented in the survey are also included in the file.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Nagel, Stuart S., Thomas Eimermann, and Kathleen Reinbolt. FREE PRESS, FAIR TRIAL DATA, 1970. ICPSR version. Urbana, IL: Stuart S. Nagel, Thomas Eimermann, and Kathleen Reinbolt, University of Illinois, Urbana [producers], 1970. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    attitudes, attorneys, criminal justice policy, fair trial-free press, freedom of the press, freedom of information, media coverage, news media, opinions, pretrial procedures, pretrial publicity, trial procedures, trials, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1970

Date of Collection:   

  • 1967--1970

Universe:    Newspaper editors, police chiefs, bar associations, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data, and aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) Different questions were posed to different sets of respondents. Responses to their individual questionnaires are all combined in one data file. (2) This codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:    Newspaper editors, police chiefs, bar associations, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys from a sample of 166 cities across the country were sent questionnaires in the mail. Fifty-four percent of the newspaper editors responded, 50 percent of the prosecuting attorneys, and 48 percent of the defense attorneys, representing almost all 50 states.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires, and standard sources providing demographic characteristics of cities


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-05-03

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