Fair Trial-Free Press Discussion
After reading Chapter 7, Fair Trail-Free Press Conflicts, you are now familiar with the conflict between two constitutional rights. How can judges control prejudicial publicity and assure fair trials guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment for defendants – especially in sensational cases like Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson and Martha Stewart – while protecting the media’s First Amendment right to cover the news? Please provide a well-reasoned answer in your own words (without the use of external sources) in two paragraphs.
. Please provide a meaningful, thoughtful response to both posts in two separate posts.
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Here is the reply below.
>The court of public opinion can be swift. Once the public has made up their minds about the guilt or innocence of the person on trial, it is almost impossible to change their outlook. By law, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. I do not believe that a judge can control the general opinion of the public. However, he/she cancontrol prejudicial publicity by where the case is tried because it’s not just how it’s tried. Moving a case to a farther-away county can be helpful and could reduce the intensity of the sensationalism. As in the O.J. Simpson case, there would be no way that the high-profile murder case could have stayed near Brentwood because it wouldn’t be fair to have Simpson’s “neighbors” judge him. From everything I read in the papers, those neighbors were affluent and predominately white. He was their equal in everything except for race. While I believe O.J. was definitely guilty, I think the courts did the right thing by moving the case out of his area.
The biggest mistake made by the court was televising the trial, which showcased the sloppiness of both the prosecuting and defense attorneys. By showing the many mistakes in all their glory, such as trying on the glove, this allowed the court of public opinion to grow into its full but divided fervor. Hopefully, the O.J. trial was a lesson learned, and a hard one at that. We must not televise sensational cases; we should move trials to areas that will allow for more objectivity, allow the publicity/interest to die down, and to warn jurors to remain impartial. Ultimately, our Sixth Amendment allows “Every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law.”
Write a one page double spaced paper on Florida’s Shield Law. PLEASE MAKE SURE IT IS A ONE FULL PAGE.