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Media In The Courtroom Essays

Because of the Lindbergh baby murder trial, photographers and movie cameras were banned in all federal and state courts. The American Bar Association enacted Canon 35 of the Code of Judicial Conduct as it related to the media. In part it read, "The taking of photographs . . . and the broadcasting of court proceedings are calculated to detract from the essential dignity of the proceedings . . . and create misconceptions in the mind of the public and should not be permitted."

The legal community had concluded that cameras were entirely too disruptive to trials. Yet as technology improved over time and cameras became smaller, easier to handle, and less disruptive, the media once again tried to enlarge its scope of trial coverage. As with other major issues of the day, the U.S. Supreme Court had a say in the controversy between the Lawyers and family members often make impassioned pleas to the media, which some worry may taint the jury pool.

rights of the media and the rights of the accused. The case of Estes v. Texas (1965) involved a trial that originally received great publicity because of the defendant's relationship to U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973; served 1963–69).

Estes was found guilty of business fraud and sentenced to prison. In the Court's ruling, Justice John Marshall Harlan (1899–1971) declared that televised proceedings in criminal trials of great note created considerable prejudice against the defendants. Harlan believed televised proceedings lacked due process. The following year, in overturning the murder conviction of Ohio physician Sam Sheppard, the Court stated that it was the duty of the presiding judge to prevent press coverage from interfering with court proceedings.

During the 1980s the Supreme Court began allowing more access after media advocates claimed that televising trials would make media representatives strive to be more accurate in their reporting. Other changes in the media brought new issues as well. Cable news stations and the 24-hour news cycle became commonplace and included legal commentators, who were not always accurate and could create false impressions of a trial's proceedings.

The legal community and the media attempted to work together in many respects to bridge the gap between fair trials and the public's right to information regarding trials. Judges are primarily in charge of regulating cameras inside their courts and usually ask jurors to avoid television coverage of their case. No cameras are allowed in federal courts, though oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court can be watched on the C-SPAN cable network.



Trial By Media Essay

A crime is an act punishable by the state that causes harm or discontent against a community or individual. Crime is known to be “an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law”1. Crime can be classified through a variety of elements which violate the rights of a community at large. Acts of crime are punishable upon proof of guilt that are presented in the court of law. Consequently, criminal law is the law which defines these crimes and may aid or establish their subsequent punishments. These criminal laws are enforced through criminal procedures and trials. These trials however, can be influenced, corrected, and sometimes even regulated by the media. This creates a strong issue of injustice and unfair trial within society, and may prove to be detrimental to the foundations of just law and punishment.

The term “trial by media” is used when individuals and others involved in court proceedings or cases believe that media coverage and opinion has infringed their rights to a fair trial. This often includes the idea that the information published throughout the media, can influence the juries decision and override a just and fair decision process, therefore not allowing the individual to have the right to pleading innocent until proven guilty. There have been many incidents and cases that have resulted in the media publishing incorrect judgements, or creating their own finality or illegitimate opinion on a case, therefore publishing headlines that incline bias. This tends to infringe the judiciary’s role, that have not yet created a sentence for the individual. This means that the jury could easily walk into the court room, already having the knowledge of invalid media responses, and lead to bias.

As media efforts and technologies develop, the concept of trial by media can reach a vaster expanse of audiences, therefore creating a greater preconception of guilt or innocence before the jury’s verdict. Technological advances have increased dramatically in the later 20th and early 21st century, therefore this can be the cause for the popularity of trial by media within Australian contemporary society. Television, internet and newspaper coverage and access of selected information is the large cause of trial by media issues, creating a debate between the idea of freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

The subject area of trial by media, can be found within the Defamation Act (NSW) 2005, where inappropriate publication can harm the reputation of another person. In 2005 child molester Dennis Ferguson was charged and sentenced of child molestation. The immense amount of media coverage expressed on the case prevented his chance at a fair trial. This caused for a “bench trial” with the absence of a jury and he was therefore released on the precedent for the need of proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, due to trial by media, the name of Dennis Ferguson had been defamed within...

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