We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.


View Profile

Publication details for Professor Gavin Phillipson

Phillipson, G. (2008). Trial by Media: the Betrayal of the First Amendment’s Purpose. Law and Contemporary Problems 71(4): 15-30.

Author(s) from Durham


There is continuing concern in the United States about the kind of media
storms that swirl around high-profile criminal proceedings such as the Sam
Sheppard case,3 the O.J. Simpson trial,4 or the Duke lacrosse case.5 The knowledge
that the transformation of the sober and impartial investigation of guilt
into a grotesque media “carnival”6 could probably happen nowhere in the
Western world other than the United States reminds us again of the distinctiveness
of First Amendment jurisprudence; but the difference in this instance
seems to arouse more mixed feelings in Americans than usual. As will appear
below, the pernicious effect of media reportage upon public perceptions of the
guilt of high-profile defendants,7 with a possible concomitant effect upon the
fairness of trials, now seems to be fairly widely accepted.