Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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Perhaps all that needs to be said on the issue of media and trials is People v. O.J. Simpson. The lessons of that trial are obvious. The trial judge is directly and personally responsible for maintaining the dignity and decorum of the courtroom proceedings. The media's interests do not involve issues of fair trial and due process. Rather, the media's interests involve issues of public information, ratings, and financial benefits from coverage of a particular trial. Further, when dealing with media coverage, the attorney should determine how media coverage might affect the resolution of the client's case and how he or she can appropriately deal with a capital case so as to protect the client and the integrity of our system of justice. Also, the trial judge must be aggressively involved in media management to ensure the defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial and the societal right to justice in a properly conducted trial. A review of some of the issues that often arise when dealing with a capital case will help prepare the judiciary for a capital case with intense media focus: 1. What are the legal guidelines in the area of free press and fair trial interests? 2. What are some of the pitfalls of the capital trial and what planning should the justice system take to appropriately address those concerns?



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