5.5.2010

O.J. Simpson Affects Jury Selection in Nevada. Stephens Media, LLC v. Distr. Ct., 125 Nev. ___, 221 P.3d 1240 (2009).


O.J. Simpson’s criminal trial in Las Vegas has raised a significant legal issue by which the First Amendment right to free press competes with a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. The Nevada Supreme Court recently ruled that once the district court weighs and balances the competing factors, juror questionnaires can be made public and must be given to the media. The obvious concern is the personal information divulged by prospective jurors that is made public. Trial lawyers argue that this invasion into prospective jurors’ privacies is unconstitutional and should be avoided. The media argues that since jury selection is part of the public trial, all information gleaned therefrom should be considered public.

Soon, Nevada and other states’ courts will have to struggle with whether jury questionnaires are available to the media in civil trials.

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