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NCJ Number: 50979 Find in a Library
Title: TELEVISED TRIALS - CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS, PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS, AND STATE EXPERIMENTATION
Journal: LOYOLA UNIVERSITY LAW JOURNAL  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:(SUMMER 1978)  Pages:910-934
Author(s): S B KULWIN
Corporate Author: Loyola University
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Loyola University
New Orleans, LA 70118
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CONSTITUTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS CONCERNING THE USE OF TELEVISION CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM ARE EXAMINED, ALONG WITH VARIOUS PROTECTIVE GUIDELINES ESTABLISHED IN THOSE STATES WHICH TELEVISE TRIALS.
Abstract: THE CONTROVERSY OVER TELEVISING TRIALS INVOLVES FOUR CONFLICTING RIGHTS GROUNDED ON DIFFERENT CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES: (1) THE RIGHT OF PRIVACY OF THE DEFENDANT, WITNESSES, AND JURORS; (2) THE RIGHT OF PUBLIC TRIAL; (3) THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS; AND (4) THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. ALTHOUGH PROPONENTS OF COURTROOM TELEVISION HAVE ATTEMPTED TO JUSTIFY THE CONCEPT ON THE BASIS OF THE FIRST AND SIXTH AMENDMENTS, NEITHER THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF PUBLIC TRIAL, NOR THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, ARE ENDANGERED BY A BAN ON TELEVISED TRIALS. AS LONG AS TELEVISION STATIONS ARE FREE TO SEND REPRESENTATIVES TO TRIALS, THE RIGHT OF PUBLIC TRIAL AND FREE PRESS ARE SECURE. FURTHER, IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT TELEVISED TRIALS VIOLATE THE FAIR TRIALS PROVISIONS OF THE SIXTH AMENDMENT AND THE CASE-LAW FOUNDATIONS OF THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY. THE ACCUSED, THE WITNESSES, AND THE JURORS, ARE FORCED TO ENDURE A SERIOUS ASSAULT ON THEIR PRIVACY WHEN TRIALS ARE TELEVISED. IN ADDITION, THE ADVERSE IMPACT WHICH TELEVISION HAS ON THE BEHAVIOR OF ALL THE TRIAL PARTICIPANTS IMPAIRS THE DEFENDANT'S ABILITY TO OBTAIN A FAIR TRIAL. ALTHOUGH GUIDELINES WERE PROMULGATED IN COLORADO, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA TO PREVENT INFRINGEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF TRIAL PARTICIPANTS, A REVIEW OF THESE RULES DEMONSTRATES THAT THEY HAVE NOT ACCOMPLISHED THIS GOAL. WHILE THE STATE RESTRICTIONS ON THE PHYSICAL PRESENCE OF TELEVISION CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM EFFECTIVELY PREVENT PHYSICAL DISTRACTION FROM INTERFERING WITH A TRIAL, THIS CONCERN IS THE LEAST SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM ASSOCIATED WITH TELEVISING TRIALS. THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THE HARMFUL PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT ON TRIAL PARTICIPANTS, AND THE STATE GUIDELINES ARE OF LITTLE UTILITY IN ELIMINATING POSSIBLE PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERFERENCE SAFEGUARDING THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL, AND PROTECTING THE PRIVACY INTERESTS OF TRIAL PARTICIPANTS. JUDICIAL DECISIONS ARE FOOTNOTED AND DISCUSSED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Alabama; Colorado; Court rules; Critiques; Florida; Freedom of the press; Judicial decisions; Media coverage; Right of privacy; Right to fair trial; Televisions; Trials
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