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    Celebrity Trials

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    There have been numerous instances in which the media has been accused of conducting the trial of the accused and passing a verdict even before the court reached its judgment. Media trials cause undue interference in the delivery of justice, a process that should be carried out by courts. Based on research and understanding, answer the following questions:
    •Analyze and explain what are the pros and cons of having television cameras in the courtroom. Analyze whether routine televised coverage of trials influence the participants, including the judge. What differences can be seen in the demeanor of attorneys in a real televised trial and a fictional trial?
    •Does being a celebrity make a defendant more or less likely to receive a fair trial due to the media attention and publicity? Why or why not? Should there be more information safeguards and security for defendants who are in the public eye?
    •Trials that were highly publicized in the last twenty years include those of Louise Woodward, O. J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, and William Kennedy Smith. Analyze and explain whether there were any issues of national importance in these trials. Were these cases representative of normal judicial proceedings? Why or why not? Analyze whether it the public's right to know the details about the participants in these cases.
    •Martha Stewart did her first television special in 1986 on Christmas decoration. During her five-month incarceration in West Virginia's Alderson Federal Prison, her team lost the holiday decoration contest and People Magazine made sure to cover Stewart and her inmates' efforts at creating paper cranes.
    ◦Was the story of Stewart's decorations in prison in any way newsworthy or of public importance?
    ◦Was the extensive coverage of Stewart's incarceration meant to serve as an example of equal justice for celebrities?
    ◦Why did the media focus on Stewart's crime rather than a violent criminal or predator's crime?
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    Solution Preview

    In accordance with BrainMass standards, this is not a hand in ready assignment but is only background help.

    Step 1
    There are several pros of having television cameras in the courtrooms. The differences that can be seen in the demeanor of attorneys I a real televised trial is that the attorneys create an impression, that they are hard working, logical, and efficient. In a frictional trial the focus is on being dramatic. The pros of having television cameras in the courtroom are that through television anyone can attend and watch the trial. Another pro is that media coverage has the potential of increasing the confidence of people in the criminal justice system as a whole. Further, televised coverage helps to counter the bias created by the print media. Also if the trial is videotaped, important parts can be replayed during appeal. The cons of having television cameras in the courtroom are that public may prejudice the case and reach a conclusion of guilt or innocence. Further, appeals courts observing video recordings of trials can often bias their interpretation of law. In addition, television in the court can sensationalize aspects of the case. The judges may also be influenced by the exposure and give judgments that are in accordance with public opinion.

    Step 2
    A celebrity makes a defendant less likely to receive a fair trial due to media attention and publicity. The media slants the case against the celebrity. Alternately it may create sympathy for the defendant. In both the ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution explains important issues related to celebrity trials. The sources used are also included in the solution.