Document Type



State ex rel. Dayton Newspapers v. Phillips, 46 Ohio St. 2d 457, 351 N.E.2d 127 (1976).

Sensational crimes are often the focal point of extensive news coverage. If the media's reporting is objective, it may not significantly infringe upon the defendant's right to a fair trial as guaranteed by the fifth and sixth amendments. Extensive pretrial publicity, however, necessarily raises the possibility of prejudice, even though the information reported may be true. Despite the fact that the coverage may have resulted from the defendant's misdeeds, he is nevertheless entitled to be tried by persons who have not prejudged his case. It is the duty of the trial judge to determine whether the news coverage raises the possibility of prejudice in the community from which the jury is to be selected. If the trial judge finds that the defendant's right to a fair trial is in jeopardy, there are several possible remedies. One method which has been resorted to infrequently is the exclusion of the press from the court proceedings. Given that the press has the right to publish news concerning criminal cases, it is questionable whether the news media can be excluded without infringing upon its first amendment right. In State ex rel. Dayton Newspapers v. Phillips, the Supreme Court of’ Ohio held that the first amendment right is absolute, and exclusion of the press from pretrial hearings is an unacceptable method of protecting the defendant's right to a fair trial. The court held that methods other than those likely to inhibit the exercise of the first amendment must be used to protect the defendant's right to a fair and impartial trial.

Publication Date

January 1977

Included in

Law Commons



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