Media In The Courtroom Research Paper

1705 words - 7 pages

Media in the Courtroom

Media in the Courtr
May 3, 2010 Faith Ibarra
Media in the courtroom is a very touchy subject for a lot of people. The question I would answer in my paper is whether or not it should be allowed in the courtroom. I have provided some example key cases which had the media have played a huge role in the verdict.

Media in the Courtroom
Latoya Powell
Com 150
April 16, 2010
Faith Ibarra

Have you ever thought about how the media in courtrooms affects criminal cases? The public has always looked to the media to inform them of what is happening in the world, and recently with the rising growth of the criminal and ...view middle of the document...

Sixth Amendment

The media in the courtroom could always violate a person’s sixth amendment of the United States Constitution. The Sixth Amendment is also a key factor to the media in the courtroom. When abiding to the sixth amendment the person involved has the right to a fair and speedy trial. Now, sometimes when the media gets involved in a case, it can become a very sticky situation. For example, the Dr. Sam Sheppard case. Dr. Sheppard was convicted for the murder of his pregnant wife there Cleveland suburban home. The case received a huge amount of pretrial publicity, which leads the United States Supreme Court to rule that Dr. Sheppard’s Sixth amendment rights was not considered , and they overturned the trial’s court ruling. When this happened the Supreme Court began paying more attention to the media’s First Amendment rights.

Dr. Sam Sheppard Case
In July 1954, Sam Sheppard wife Marilyn Sheppard was murdered in the bedroom of her home in Bay Village, Ohio. Dr. Sheppard denied any involvement in the murder. This was a very unusual case that prolonged for over half a century. Dr. Sheppard faced two trials throughout a span of 12 years. Dr. Sheppard was found guilty in one trial and not guilty in another trial. Even more than 50 years later partisans still continue the debate (Linder, 2006).
When formulating their opinions, the jurors are only to consider evidence presented in the courtroom, but the jurors in the Sheppard case was not sequestered during a six week trial. The jury in this particular trial was exposed daily to extensive news coverage and editorial commentary of a prejudicial nature outside of the courtroom. Judge Edward Blythin was the presiding judge (Barber, 1987). The media took charge of the trial by demanding for the arrest and conviction of Dr. Sheppard (Overbeck & Pullen, 1992). In an effort to pressure the court for a guilty verdict, the jurors’ home telephone numbers were published, and as a result, Dr. Sheppard, was subsequently convicted of the crime (Overbeck & Pullen, 1992). In 1966, 12 years after the State (Ohio) conviction of Sheppard, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case and overturned the verdict (Overbeck & Pullen, 1992). The doctor was granted a new trial and was acquitted.
Mass Media in the Courtroom
The mass media’s play a huge role in reporting criminal justice issues to the public. They report new to the public by being at the crime scene, arrests, and trial proceedings (Surette, 1984). The media also reports stories that focus on the deviant and out-of-place stories such as serial killers and psychotic personalities (Ericson et al, 1991). The public has learned to recognize law as it is portrayed through television and other media of popular culture, other than formal procedure in the legal system (Ericson et al, 1991). Some people gain their knowledge of the justice system from four different sources: personal...

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