PRE-TRIAL PUBLICITY IMPACTS A CRIMINAL DEFENDANT’S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis paper explores the effects of pre-trial publicity on criminal case proceedings, and how publicity impacts a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Balancing the First Amendment against the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a defendant’s right to due process is affected by the media’s right to the freedoms of the press. Two cases – Irvin v. Dowd (1961) and Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966) – first introduce the concept of pre-trial publicity. As courts decided how to manage such publicity in the courtrooms, unconstitutional issues arose as demonstrated through Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (1976), Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980), and Mu’Min v. Virginia (1991). Following what is deemed unconstitutional, the current pre-trial publicity test is evaluated, and the issues surrounding it are discussed. The paper details the court’s solution and the defense attorney’s solution on how to combat the effects of pre-trial publicity, which introduces the Jodi Arias case. The legality of gag lawsuits in Australia and Canada are discussed and are compared to how the United States prohibits such bans on the press. In the conclusion, the ideas of pre-trial publicity are finalized and future implications as media outlets grow are considered.