What Can the Defense Attorney Say at a 'Pre-Formal Charge' Press Conference?: Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada Puts a Porous Gag on Trial Lawyers
23 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2011
Date Written: 1991
The role of the criminal trial lawyer is to advocate zealously on behalf of the client, a job that the defense attorney may find more of a challenge than the prosecutor does. The defendant may be caught in a whirlwind event that is broadcast on television and sensationalized in newspapers. After the press has printed the details of the investigation and exposed the client’s personal life, the defense attorney is left to wonder if a fair trial is possible. The fair-trial press debate is not a new one, nor is it likely to be resolved in the near future. This article discusses the rules and standards governing attorney speech in the media. The article then discusses Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, which involved Dominic P. Gentile, a criminal defense attorney from Las Vegas who published articles on criminal law. The article discusses how the United States Supreme Court failed to the opportunity presented in Gentile to clarify the confusing, vague and sometimes conflicting set of rules governing extrajudicial statements.
Keywords: Extrajudicial statements, Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, criminal trial lawyers, defense attorneys, fair-trial pres debate, ABA Model Rule 3.6, ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility Rule 7-105, American Lawyers code of Conduct
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