COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
Guarantees any criminal to a fair and speedy trial by a jury.
Unbiased by juries that have preconceived notions or may be prejudiced.
Where the Miranda Law flows from.
When you are arrested you have the right to remain silent.
Newspapers and the 6 Amendment
Articles may say someone confessed.
They may say someone passed or failed a lie detector test.
“Somebody was killed in such and such hotel”
They can publish significant evidence
Admissible as Evidence
Polygraphs are NOT admissible as evidence. BUT can be in the newspaper.
Significant evidence must be obtained through a search warrant, or if it’s in plain view.
ONLY confessing is a surefire way to determine they are guilty before a trial.
These are a number of techniques or options available to a judge to restrict information that was
legally published or legally broadcast.
These ideas come from cases where there were widespread bias. COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
Example: Mad Dog Irvin had been arrested for killing several people and was about to go on
trial. There were numerous stories published about the killings. They had to talk to over 400
people before they found 12 people that were not biased. The case goes up the Supreme Court
due to jury prejudice.
Irvin v. Dowd (1961) see above
Precedent for reversing a guilty verdict for prejudicial publicity.
If there is widespread publicity that could contaminate the jury pool, then a decision can be
reversed and the court can order a new trial.
Second time he was convicted.
Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966)
Precedent for judicial control over the flow of publicity to the press.
One of the most famous murder cases of the 20 century.
Found guilty of killing his wife and then 10 years later he was acquitted.
Married to Marilyn Sheppard. Police get a call and it’s Dr. Sam Sheppard calling the police,
“somebody killed my wife.”
Many sensationalist stories were coming out. The news stories result in editorial columns
(opinion). Many opinions accusing Sam Sheppard of killing his wife.
“to see and to say”
The right of lawyers to interview jurors in order to see if they are biased or potentially biased. COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
Change of venue
change place of jurisdiction if applying to state law, change of venue is within state. if applying
to federal law, can be moved to any other state
Change of venire
trial is conducted in the locale where the crime was committed but the jury is imported from
a postponement or adjournment.
"if this man's testimony is important, I will grant a continuance"
Deferring of trial to the next day
the isolation of a jury to avoid accidental or deliberate tainting
so that no new information will be introduced to them besides new information from the trial
The judge can issue a stern direct instruction to not talk about the case to anyone.
Murphy v. Florida (1975)
Issue is not pretrial publicity itself; issue is whether news reports were especially inflammatory
You’re not going to get a new trial unless this is a really bad news report. It’s not easy.
Stole Blue Sapphire from a museum. COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
Patton v. Yount (1984)
Issue is whether jurors can set aside preconceived notions.
Nebraska Press Assn. v. Stewart (1976)
Judge cannot tell newspaper not to write about something.
Restrictive orders aimed at news media violate the Constitution.
Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980)
Constitution requires open criminal trials—right to receive information.
Chandler v. Florida (1981)
No federal rules for cameras in state courts.
Public Access to Judicial Records and Proceedings:
The PressEnterprise decisions I and II
PEI extends open courtrooms to voir dire
PEII includes all pretrial hearings COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
No Special Press Privileges For Information Gathering
Failure to obey police orders
Confidential Sources and Shield Laws
Branzburg v. Hayes (U.S. 1972)
All states have open records laws.
All states have open meetings laws.
But 31 or 32 states have journalist shield laws.
If you are a reporter and covering a trial in a state court the shield law applies to you
If you are attending a federal trial the shield laws do not apply
The laws protect journalists from testifying and identifying sources as well as handing their notes
or hard drives to law enforcement agencies
About the case: COMM 403 – FINAL EXAM
There was a reporter who worked for a small city newspaper and he hooked up with a gang that
produced and distributed hash
The reporter wrote a series of stories that did very well but the deal was that he wouldn’t give up
the names of the gang members.
The DA wanted him to testify and the ordered the reporter to release the names of all the people
he said he wouldn’t release.
They went to court and under the supervision of a lawyer the reporter reminded the court about
the First Amend and the freedom of press. Went to the Supreme Court and they sided with the
government and told Branzburg that he had to release the names of the people involved.
Set of conditions:
Cannot be obtained elsewhere
Compelling and overriding