Supreme court of the united states



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Caution


As of: Jun 23, 2009
NEBRASKA PRESS ASSN. ET AL. v. STUART, JUDGE, ET AL.
No. 75-817
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
427 U.S. 539; 96 S. Ct. 2791; 49 L. Ed. 2d 683; 1976 U.S. LEXIS 17; 1 Media L. Rep. 1064
Argued April 19, 1976

June 30, 1976


PRIOR HISTORY: CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF NEBRASKA
CASE SUMMARY:

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The Court granted petitioners, members of the press, certiorari to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of Nebraska, which upheld a district court's order, as modified, that prohibited petitioners from publishing accounts of facts implicative of the accused in a widely reported murder.
OVERVIEW: Respondent state district judge, acting out of a legitimate concern in an effort to protect an accused's right to a fair trial, entered an order restraining petitioners, members of the press, from publishing accounts of confessions made by the accused or facts strongly implicative of the accused in a widely reported murder of six persons. Petitioners filed an application for certiorari. The Court granted certiorari to decide whether the order violated the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press. The Court reversed, holding that the order was invalid because the barriers to prior restraint were not passed. Although the trial judge was justified in concluding that there would be intense pre-trial publicity and that it might impair the accused's right to a fair trial, the trial judge did not determine whether other measures, besides prior restraint, would have sufficed. In addition, prior restraint on publication was not a workable method of protecting the accused's right to a fair trial because the events took place in a community of 850 people. The lower court could not restrain an entire community.
OUTCOME: The Court reversed the state supreme court's decision to affirm the order of respondent state district judge to restrain petitioners, members of the press, from publishing facts implicative of the accused in a murder. The Court held that the order for prior restraint did not overcome the presumption against its validity. The lower court failed to determine whether there were other methods of securing the accused's right to a fair trial.
CORE TERMS: publicity, prior restraint, fair trial, reporting, pre-trial, restrictive, prejudicial, guidelines, prior restraint, confession, media, newspaper, juror, preliminary hearing, news media, free press, restraining, implicative, impartial jury, disclosure, bar-press, coverage, heavy, justice system, murder, guilt, venue, prospective jurors, judicial proceedings, courtroom


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