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Should a murder case be publicized?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Murder/Homicide

There are many different legal cases that are what you’d call, “high profile.” These cases are often sensationalized when they’re in the media, making it so it’s something most people are talking about. With social media on top of traditional news outlets, the spread of information about the trial moves like a wildfire.

Is that good for justice or bad, though? On one hand, the right to a public trial is important because it allows the defendant more protection against biases and issues that could be hidden behind closed doors. On the other hand, media coverage could expose the jury to ideas they’re not supposed to be seeing or evidence that has been excluded from the trial.

Juries shouldn’t be watching media

Juries can be affected by media, which is potentially harmful to a case. Even though the jury members may be told not to watch media or talk about their involvement with the case, a high-profile case may cause such a disruption in society that it’s all people are talking about. The jury members’ family members might chat about the news or claims made by people online, all potentially hurting the jury’s neutrality.

For a defense attorney, this is extremely challenging. They need to attempt to find people for the jury who can maintain their neutrality and be willing to avoid social media or other media until the case is over.

Juries aren’t just affected by media, either, though. In the courtroom, if the public can come inside, the jury could be affected by how the public reacts to witnesses, the defendant or the prosecution.

There is no right or wrong answer, but all people deserve a fair case

For now, there is no simple answer to whether or not a murder case should be publicized in the media. All people deserve a fair case, and determining if the case should or shouldn’t be publicized should be determined based on the merits of the case and the likelihood that the jury could be swayed by media exposure. If you’re fighting against charges, this is something to think about carefully and to try to address before heading to court.