Debating Culture and the Courtroom—Past and Present
Take Action! - TV and the Courtroom
1. Visit the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation to research your state's laws regarding cameras and microphones in the courtroom. Summarize those laws. Do you believe that they should be more restrictive, less restrictive, or about the same? Present your findings to your class. Organize a debate on the proposition "All criminal trials should be televised."
2. With other students, visit Famous Trials to research the criminal trial of one of the following people and the effects media are said to have had on their cases: Dr. Samuel F. Sheppard, O. J. Simpson, Louise Woodward, and the Menendez brothers. Summarize and share you findings with other students. Lead a round-table discussion of the pros and cons of TV/media coverage of criminal trials. Conclude by asking the audience for recommendations about the print and broadcast media's proper role regarding criminal trials.
3. Visit Picturing Justice to find a movie or television show about lawyers that you have seen. Write down the main points the author makes about the show. Do you agree or disagree with the author's opinion? Create a checklist for evaluating whether a show accurately depicts lawyers and the legal system. Use it to evaluate the production you have researched, and offer the checklist to other students to evaluate and report on movies and TV shows that they have seen or intend to view.
Student Central | Students in Action | Debating Culture and the Courtroom—Past and Present
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