High profile cases are therefore media driven. What happens in the courtroom is a reflection of the attitudes of the larger society. Such was the case then and it is the case now. From the cases of Lizzy Borden, the Lindburgh kidnapping, O.J. Simpson, and Sheppard, anyone who thinks justice is completely blind to the influences of popular opinion is blind themselves. All too often justice is a function of political culture. The courtroom is nothing but a vehicle to carry out the popular will, often with lynch mob mentality. Despite the attempts to control this phenomenon, and certainly the Sheppard decision has played a big role in curbing excesses, the business of media (and that is the problem, it is a business) will continue to push the envelope. The techniques have changed to look better, but the results are the same. The sobering reality is that there is no relief in sight. The only remedy is to know how it works and to use it to one's advantage. This leaves out the poor, the disenfranchised, and those without resources and clout to advance an effective media plan. Yet, those who fail to heed the lessons might wind up on the short end of justice.


Symposium: Toward More Reliable Jury Verdicts - Law, Technology, and Media Development since the Trials of Dr. Sam Sheppard

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