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NCJ Number: 78581 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice System and the News Media - Recent Developments
Journal: Criminal Justice Quarterly  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1980)  Pages:178-199
Author(s): D L Stone
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Judicial decisions regarding media access to hearings and trials, reporters' privileged communications with news sources, and search and seizure of newsrooms are examined, as are New Jersey's legislative attempts to limit the impact of these rulings.
Abstract: The 1979 Supreme Court opinion in Gannett Company Inc., v. DePasquale found that the sixth amendment did not give the press and public the right of access to pretrial criminal proceedings. Gannett represented a departure from prior law in that it permitted the closing of an entire proceeding without showing that such a procedure was necessary. In the past, State and Federal courts had justified restricting public access for reasons of witness protection, privacy, decorum, and preservation of State secrets. New Jersey courts gave a limited interpretation to Gannett by specifying conditions which has to be met to justify a closing. The Supreme Court in a 1980 decision in Richmond Newspapers Inc., v. Commonwealth of Virginia concluded that the right to attend trials was guaranteed by the first amendment and that the Gannett ruling could only be applied to pretrial proceedings. Within the past 2 years, the New Jersey Supreme Court has relaxed prohibitions against televising trials and appellate proceedings and has stated that the press has a constitutionally protected right to gather news at the scenes of crimes and disasters. Reporters' efforts to protect the confidentiality of their sources through common law, the first amendment, and State statutes are traced. Shield laws, such as the one enacted by New Jersey, have been the most successful tactic by holding that reporters' privileges against disclosure are limited solely by a defendant's sixth amendment right to a fair trail. The Supreme Court's ruling in Zurcher v. Stanford Daily which upheld the execution of a search warrant for a college newspaper office to look for photographs of a demonstration that injured police officers is also discussed. Congress and legislatures have introduced several bills to overrule Stanford, as illustrated in excerpts from New Jersey's law passed in 1980. Approximately 140 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Freedom of the press; Judicial decisions; Media coverage; New Jersey; Press relations; Pretrial publicity; Privileged communications; Search and seizure
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