Criminal Justice: Curbing Crime News

Mindful of the continuing conflict between the constitutional right to a fair trial and the constitutional rights of a free press, the American Bar Association aims to make a definitive study of the practicality of national curbs on pre-trial news. But like other local groups, the Philadelphia Bar Association is unwilling to wait. Last week the Philadelphia lawyers voted for self-silence, plus such suggested "guidelines" for police as a strict "no comment" to reporters at the scene of a crime.

Not surprisingly, the Philadelphia gag (which is not legally binding) roused hot criticism from the local press, police, prosecutors,...