The A.B.A.: Free Press & Fair Trial

A grisly crime, angry citizens, pressured police—such are the ingredients that spur , "trial by newspaper," the prejudicial reporting that often all but guarantees a despised defendant's conviction. British courts have long curbed the problem by holding errant newspapers in contempt. The U.S. Supreme Court, on the other hand, must consider the First Amendment right of a free press; it has repeatedly voided convictions for contempt by publication. And in the process it has left unresolved the competing interests of the press and the defendant on trial.

In reversing Dr. Sam Sheppard's...

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