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Are court trials really fair?

Clovis, CA |

My brother is in a high profiled murder case . He is usually on the news when his court date comes , which makes him look very bad . He was accused of taking a part in the crime . The first person that accused him used to be high profiled but he no longer is on the news no more . How is it fair for him to have a fair trial when this is all the public See's about him ?

Attorney Answers 8

  1. We live in an age where the media is everywhere. However the jury should be made up of individuals that are not predisposed to a particular outcome.
    Robert Driessen

    Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at

  2. This is very complex and philosophical question. A jury trail is supposed to be fair because it is supposed to be made up a cross section of the population to ensure that all viewpoints are present. However, this is not always the case. The media definitely affects the way an individual is portrayed and can effect a jury's judgement. Your best defense against these biases and injustices is to ensure that a defense attorney does a good job questioning the juror's regarding their biases and that the attorney is competent to participate in a trial. Good luck on your brother's case, at this point the best you can do is to support him in this process which will be long and difficult.

    Gabriela M. Lopez, Esq.

  3. sometimes it depends.

  4. Your concerns are legitimate, especially with so much at stake. However, what happens inside the courtroom is often not reported in the news media.

    I have worked with other attorneys on high profile cases that portray the defendant as a monster - however, the jury acquitted based on the evidence that was presented in the courtroom.

    In truth it is a difficult if not impossible question to answer - it requires someone being inside each juror's head. But in the end, I do believe in the jury trial system.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Your brother surely has an attorney for this type of case. His attorney can address any media over exposure with the judge. There are ways to try to eliminate bias from a jury, including jury screening and/or venue changes. His attorney will be in the best position to figure out what is best.

    The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.

  6. It seems your primary concern is media legacy on the case and the potential fairness of jury. Your attorney should be able to help screen for bias or prejudice of a jury; you attorney can also look to move the jurisdiction.

  7. Your heading has to do with court trials; your discussion has to do with jury trials [a different animal]. I guess your question pertains not to court trials [they can sometimes be very fair; sometimes not] but to jury trials. There is a split of opinion regarding the effect on jurors of inflammatory publicity. I suspect your attorney has guaged what is going on there and knows best what steps to take, but we should recall that at the time of the founding, people were less concerned about local publicity vis-a-vis locus of jury selection than now. It should be recalled that the Bunker Hill "Massacre" defendants [Red Coats] were defended in the area of the incident by jurors [colonists] chosen from the area, and John Adams, the defense attorney [and the founder of the American conservative movement!], showed the jury that law and rights needed to guide them and not public hysteria, and the defendants, Red Coats, our otherwise political enemies, were acquitted by a jury of colonists.

  8. Trials are public proceedings.

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