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Televised Executions and the Constitution: Recognizing a First Amendment Right of Access to State Executions

82 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011  

John D. Bessler

University of Baltimore - School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: August 1, 1993

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Bessler, John D., Televised Executions and the Constitution: Recognizing a First Amendment Right of Access to State Executions (August 1, 1993). Federal Communications Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 355-435, August 1993. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1753200 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1753200

John D. Bessler (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
4108374690 (Phone)
4108374450 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.ubalt.edu/

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/

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