Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chandler v. Florida case brief

Chandler v. Florida case brief summary
449 U.S. 560 (1981)

Following their criminal convictions, defendants unsuccessfully sought a new trial, arguing they were denied a fair trial due to the televised coverage of their trial. The state appellate court affirmed and certified the question of constitutionality of the Fla. Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 3A(7). The Florida Supreme Court denied review, holding the appeal, which was limited to a challenge to Canon 3A(7), was moot. Defendants appealed.

Florida promulgated Canon 3A(7) as an experiment in regulating radio, television, and other photographic coverage of court proceedings. Defendants' case received a great deal of media attention and was covered by television. Defendants argued the televising of criminal trials was inherently a denial of due process. Defendants based their argument on a previous court opinion that they interpreted as announcing a per se constitutional rule to that effect.

  • On review, the court analyzed the previous opinion and determined that the case was not to be interpreted as announcing a constitutional rule barring still photographic, radio, and television coverage in all cases and under all circumstances. 
  • The court held the case did not stand as an absolute ban on state experimentation with an evolving technology. 
  • The court held that the constitution did not prohibit a state from experimenting with the program authorized by Canon 3A(7). 
  • The court held defendants failed to offer evidence that any participant in their case was affected by the presence of cameras. 
  • The court found that there was no showing that the trial was compromised by television coverage.

The court affirmed judgment in favor of the state, and held that defendants were not denied a fair trial due to the televised coverage of their trial.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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