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Unanswered Questions

While the public certainly enjoys legal dramas, both fictional and real, and technology has been able to cover almost all aspects of a story at rapid speed, many are concerned about the media's role in crime and punishment. Having cameras and reporters involved in trials has raised questions about the rights of the accused. Do the media threaten the constitutional rights guaranteed to the accused? How does media coverage impact a potential jury, especially in sensational trials? Do cameras in the courtroom change the way lawyers or prosecutors act or try their cases?

These questions are not easy to answer and continue to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Television cameras are still banned from federal and state courts, but they are allowed in criminal and civil courts if approved by a judge. Cable news shows and Court TV continue to provide extensive coverage of celebrity and sensational criminal trials, while police and legal dramas remain popular on major networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. True crime books also continue to flourish, as do fictional mysteries and thrillers.

While the media and the justice system may clash over the coverage of certain trials, both groups continue to work together in an attempt to make sure that justice and the public's right to know are equally satisfied.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawMedia - History Of The Media And The Courts, Tried In The Media, The Crime Of The Century