Media in the Courtroom Essay

Media in the Courtroom 2 According to the Bill of Rights and its Amendments, everyone has the right to various freedoms. This includes the freedom of speech. Media, specifically the press, in the courtrooms have used this guaranteed right to the fullest. Many people have different feelings about the media being allowed in the courtrooms. This author believes that the courtroom is a place for a judge, jury, plaintiffs and defendants, and their witnesses to be; media representatives of any type should not be in the courtroom.

Media in the courtroom: is it really a good idea? This is a question that has many answers to it. The best way for people to make a decision about this topic is to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the media being in the courtrooms. There are many advantages to the media being allowed into the courtrooms. One of the advantages is that people are able to get a better understanding of the law working. Many people may know about the concept of having an established justice system, but they may not have knowledge of how the law works (Gil III, R. , 2009).

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Another advantage to the media being in the courtrooms is the public is able to identify different sides of the proceedings. Influencing the public has always been a way that media has been used. There are many other reasons why the media has been allowed to be in the courtrooms, especially her in the United States. The media plays an important role within the U. S. today because the people want more information; they want to know what is going on with others and many issues. They also expect the media to produce the information they are looking for (Gil III, R. , 2009).

Media in the Courtroom 3 There are disadvantages to the media being allowed in the courtrooms also. One of the disadvantages is that an innocent person could possibly be pre-judged by the jurors incorrectly. There are many cases that can have an injustice to a defendant because the person in question is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Allowing the media in the courtrooms may hinder cases, especially cases that are very delicate (Gill III, R. , 2009). Another disadvantage of the media being allowed in the courtrooms is because this may cause an injustice to the legal process.

Not getting the entire story can pose a problem within the justice system causing the public to judge upon those who are on trial or others immediately without all the facts at hand (Gil III, R. , 2009). Courts have begun to ban the social media from the courtrooms. What are the reasons for this ban? One of the reasons is because communication rules have been moved into the digital age. This means that people involved in the cases do their own independent investigations and communicate with others via the social media (Sullivan, L. , 2010).

The social media consists of things like the Internet and cell phones used to blog and make posts on web sites. Another reason why this ban has begun is because the rules of communication are being ignored by jurors. The reality is that people do not appreciate why these rules are in place to begin with (Sullivan, L. , 2010). Do the media being in the courtrooms harm or help the plaintiffs and defendants? There are cases where the media has created a prejudice for the defendants. There are cases where the media being in the courtroom has made the victims look like the people who committed the crimes.

Media in the Courtroom 4 The people of the United States are guaranteed certain freedoms under the Bill of Rights to the Constitution and its Amendments. These freedoms are also guaranteed to the press. The right to gather information falls under the First Amendment. The First Amendment states that Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion. The Amendment also states that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of or abridge the freedom of speech or the press (The Avalon Project; Amendments to the U.

S. Constitution). The Bill of rights and the Amendments also say that every person has the right to a speedy trial. The Sixth Amendment states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. It also states that the accused can be confronted by witnesses against him and have witnesses in his favor along with the right to have assistance of counsel for his defense (The Avalon Project; Amendments to the U. S. Constitution).

The Seventh Amendment states that the right to a trial shall be persevered. It also states that no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined by any other court in the U. S. (The Avalon Project; Amendments to the U. S. Constitution). Do the media being in the courtrooms violate the Amendments to the Constitution? The Sixth Amendment may be violated by the media being allowed into the courtrooms. This is because the media may cause witnesses to change their testimonies or cause a jury to not be impartial (Freedman, W. , 1998).

This could happen because the press puts out so much information about the people that are involved in cases; information that may have nothing at all to do with the trail or the crime that was committed. The media being allowed into the courtrooms may also violate the Seventh Amendment. This is because the media and the information they present to the public could cause cases that have already been tried and prosecuted to be re-tried (Freedman, Media in the Courtroom 5 W. , 1998). The Seventh Amendment plainly states that no fact tried by a jury shall be re-tried by another court.

The media being in the courtroom could also cause a case that has already been tried to be overturned and new punishment imposed or the cases possibly dismissed altogether. There are some very specific even historical cases that prove the media being in the courtroom could violate these Amendments. The Lindbergh baby murder trial caused photographers and movie cameras to be banned from all federal and state courts (jranklaw. org). It was said that the taking of photographs and the broadcasting of the proceedings distracted the essential dignity of the trial and created misconceptions of the public’s mind.

Over time and as technology improved, the media was again allowed in the courtrooms, although, it did not stop the disadvantages of them being there from happening. In the cases of Estes vs. Texas, the trial received great publicity because of the defendant’s relationship to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Estes was found guilty and sentenced to prison. In the Court’s ruling, Justice John Marshall Harlan declared that the televised proceedings in criminal trials of great note created considerable prejudice against the defendants (jranklaw. rg). The Constitution gave the people of the United States various freedoms. These freedoms should not be violated in any way. The media being allowed into the courtrooms may violate a few of the Constitutional rights given to the American people. This author stands by his original thought that the courtroom is a place for a judge, jury, plaintiffs and defendants, and their witnesses and not a place for the media to be. Media in the Courtroom 6 References Freedman, W. (1998). Press and Media Access to the Criminal Courtroom.

Location: Quoram books, New York. Retrieved April 18, 2010. from http://www. questia. com/read/26238407? title= Press%20and%20Media%20Access%20to%20the%20Criminal%20Courtroom Gil III, R. (2009). Media in the courtroom in the United States. Retrieved April 18, 2010. From http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/2013854/media_in_the_ courtroom_in_the_ united. html? cat=17 Media – Cameras in the Courtroom [no author]. N. d. Retrieved April 18, 2010. from http://law. jrank. rg/pages/12142/Media-Cameras-in-courtroom. html Sullivan, L. (2010). Courtroom bans on social media spreading across the United States. First Amendment Coalition; Online Media Daily. Retrieved on April 18, 2010. from http://www. firstamendmentcoalition. org/2010/03/courtroom-bans-on-social-media-spreading- across-united-states/ The Avalon Project: Documents in law, History and Diplomacy. N. d. Yale Law School. Retrieved April 18, 2010. From http://avalon. law. yale. edu/18th_century/rights1. asp

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