Televised Executions and the Constitution: Recognizing a First Amendment Right of Access to State Executions
John D. Bessler
University of Baltimore - School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center
August 1, 1993
Federal Communications Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 355-435, August 1993
This article examines the history of public and private executions and the passage of private execution laws. It concludes that existing laws restricting media access to executions – and requiring private executions that exclude television cameras – are unconstitutional. The author examines existing statutory schemes which curtail media access and prohibit the filming of executions, discusses legal challenges to such laws, and explores freedom of the press jurisprudence. In particular, the article analyzes First Amendment case law and right-of-access cases. The author also discusses the Eighth Amendment's relationship to First Amendment case law in the area of media coverage of executions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 82
Keywords: Media Access, Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Television, Constitutionality, Filming of Executions, Statutes, Legal Challenges, First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, Case Law, Eighth Amendment
JEL Classification: K14, K19, K39, K49, L82
Date posted: February 4, 2011
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