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Criminal Coverage: News Media, Legal Commentary, and the Crucible of the Presumption of Innocence

Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 427, Fall 2011

DePaul Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-02

18 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2012 Last revised: 21 Jun 2012

Andrea D. Lyon

Valparaiso University Law School

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: crime and media; legal commentators, high profile criminal cases, conflict between 1st and 6th Amendments

Suggested Citation

Lyon, Andrea D., Criminal Coverage: News Media, Legal Commentary, and the Crucible of the Presumption of Innocence (2011). Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 427, Fall 2011; DePaul Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980229

Andrea D. Lyon (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

656 S. Greenwich St.
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States

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