VENUE AND JURISDICTION
The need for justice to be seen to have been done has necessitated publicity in the U.S. courts and the press to assume the responsibility of publicizing court trials to have the public informed. The press, in so doing has always sought to rely on the provisions of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits parliament from making laws that tend to curtail freedom of speech or that of the media. However there are situations when members of the press can be denied access to court proceedings in criminal cases. The need for such denial may even prompt the judges to remove a case from a jurisdiction.
In the case of Richmond newspapers, it was held that it was necessary to exclude the public and the press from pretrial hearings and other preliminary hearings if doing the contrary would prejudice the public opinion against the defendant or expose such information as may be implicating but not admissible during actual trial to the prospective Judges. This decision is made at the request of defendant but at the discretion of the pretrial jury. A similar decision was reached in Gannet v De Pasquale.
The press may also be excluded from such trials if their access would and subsequent adverse publicity would pose a threat to fain hearing or to the defendant . This was seen in the Estes case where the attorneys of the Supreme court in the state of Texas agreed that extensive publication of the case through radio and television had denied the defendant the right to fair trial.
In general, the prosecution may decide what information to give to the press, what is known as gagging orders as seen in Berger v United States. In so doing, he must consider whether releasing the said information would endanger the reputation or physical safety of the defendant or prejudice ongoing investigations. Any other factor likely to prejudice fairness in delivery of justice may prompt the jury to lock out the public and the press from such hearings.
More, J (2009). Essentials of criminal justice. Nairobi: Nairobi university press
Cliff Roberson, Harvey Wallace, and Gilbert B. Stuckey. (2007)Procedures in the Justice System. London: Prentice Hall.