Sheppard v. Maxwell Samuel H. Sheppard
v. E. L. Maxwell, Warden
Docket No. 1966-490 384 U.S. 333
, 16 L.Ed.2d 600
, 86 S.Ct. 1507
( 1966)Argued February 28, 1966. Decided June 6, 1966.
By 1966, the Court had made it clear that pretrial and extra-trial publicity could indeed unconstitutionally prejudice jurors and so deprive a defelldant from trial by an impartial jury. Never before, however, had it outlined
more than a few isolated steps that could be taken by a trial court to reduce
the effect upon jurors of information disseminated by the press.Perhaps in part because the trial judge here claimed lie could not control
the press, the Court used this ruling to suggest a number of steps that he
could have taken to regulate the press constitutionally. Indeed, Sheppard is
considered a landmark case precisely because of its detailed prescriptions for
ameliorating the deleterious effects on the fairness of a trial caused by pretrial
and extra-trial publicity.Some of the most important questions raised by this trial and its attendant publicity were posed by F. Lee Bailey in his brief asking the court to
grant Sheppard a new trial. Of his eleven questions, the four below are the
most relevant to this conflict.
|(1) Did the pretrial publicity in petitioner's [ Sheppard's] case so prejudice the community that no fair and impartial jury could have been
|(2) Did the trial judge fail to adequately protect the petit jury, once impanelled, from prejudicial extrinsic influence?|
|(3) Did the trial judge fail to adequately interrogate the jurors when
they had been exposed to prejudicial extrinsic matter through the news
media during the trial?|
. . .
|(5) Did the trial judge deny petitioner a public trial by assigning nearly
all the seats in the courtroom to newsmen?|