CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lyon on News Media and Criminal Defense

Andrea D. Lyon (DePaul University - College of Law)

Andrea D. Lyon (DePaul University - College of Law) has posted 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) on SSRN.  Here is the 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.

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