Jurisprudence Trial by Television

As millions tune in to the William Kennedy Smith drama, some wonder whether justice is being served by the gavel-to-gavel TV coverage

No one should have expected that the first court case to claim a huge television audience would center on municipal-bond trading. With a famous name linked to a sordid crime, the rape trial of William Kennedy Smith fits neatly into the usual daytime schedule of leering soap operas. For the same reason, it has turned out to be a test of whether TV cameras will turn the law into a brand of vaudeville. In a case full of senatorial bar hopping and a parlor game called Vegetable, it's already difficult to keep in sight the serious charges -- rape and battery...

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