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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69936 Find in a Library
Title: Dealing With Prejudicial Publicity in Criminal Cases (From Criminal Law Seminar, 1977, Tape 3 - See NCJ-69932)
Author(s): W M Kunstier
Corporate Author: California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Sponsoring Agency: California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Not Available Through National Institute of Justice/NCJRS Document Loan Program
Rockville, MD 20849
Oceana Publications, Inc
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Sale Source: Oceana Publications, Inc
75 Main Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
United States of America

Not Available Through National Institute of Justice/NCJRS Document Loan Program
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Gag orders versus the obligation of defense counsel in newsworthy criminal cases to represent their clients adequately, are discussed from the perspectives of the controversial advocate of many notorious defendants.
Abstract: Part of a five-audiocassetts series containing the proceedings of the 1977 statewide California Criminal law Seminar, sponsored by the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and primarily intended for an audience of defense attorneys and law students, this presentation by the defense counsel of, among others, the Chicago Seven, Daniel Berrigan, and Rap Brown, discusses the uses of publicity in criminal trials. Basing his argument on the premise that no defendant ever receives a fair trial under our political system, and that the court and the prosecution start out with all the advantages, including access to the mass media, the speaker contends that the gag rules should always be attacked by defense counsel. Publicity that is prejudicial to the defense does not exist. Several cases, most of which he defended, (and which are summarized in the corresponding section of the printed syllabus provided with the cassettes) are cited. These cases received nationwide publicity and they allegedly represent the entire body of decisional law in this area. The gag rules are comparatively recent and several judges have opposed their application. In support of his argument that publicity can be of enormous advantage to a criminal defendant and his counsel in overcoming the built-in handicaps under which they are laboring vis-a-vis the criminal justice establishment, the speaker lists the benefits to be reaped through a skillful and subtle use of media; e.g., securing public sympathy; raising funds for the defense, assembling a defense team, and acquiring additional evidence through media exposure (cases summarized in the syllabus are referral to in support of the latter argument). When reached by the mass media, citizens will come forward, for many reasons known to psychologists (e.g., for vicarious thrills, for the ego-boosting deus-ex-machina feeling, and to enjoy a day in the sun). The speaker concludes that defense attorneys have an obligation to reach the mass media to help all their clients, especially in nonnewsworthy cases.
Index Term(s): Fair trial-free press; Freedom of the press; Pretrial publicity; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Trial materials disclosure
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Price listed is for one cassette tape. 1977.
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