Criminal Coverage: News Media, Legal Commentary, and the Crucible of the Presumption of Innocence
Andrea D. Lyon
Valparaiso University Law School
Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 427, Fall 2011
DePaul Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-02
The criminal defense bar has always had a complex relationship with the media. There are competing parts of the Constitution to consider, namely, the First and the Sixth Amendments. Generally speaking, publicity hurts a criminal defendant. There are already so many presumptions against anyone charged — particularly anyone charged with a violent offense. That said, without the media, abuses of power would never come to light. For example, even though it was a long time coming, former police commander Jon Burge would never have gone to jail for the torture of those he arrested without the intervention of the press and the assiduity of a few lawyers and reporters. This article article identifies practical intrusions of these tensions in today’s world — the obtrusiveness of the twenty-four hour news cycle, pervasive legal commentators (I use the word “legal” advisedly) and the ethical implications of treating crime news as entertainment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: crime and media; legal commentators, high profile criminal cases, conflict between 1st and 6th Amendments
Date posted: January 5, 2012 ; Last revised: June 21, 2012
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