Celebrity Criminal Cases: A Disadvantage for All
My opinion on the topic of an unfair criminal justice system is that High profile lawyers get their celebrity clients to obtain special and unjust treatment in a court of law, however, I am aware that many people do not have the same opinion as I do. Many people actually believe that high profile criminal cases have more disadvantages than anything else.
Although what I believe is different, other researchers and people believe that being a celebrity in a court of law is actually a negative thing. Because these criminals are of a high profile, their cases are likely to end up in the media, and this is not always a good thing. This means that the media can warp and force ideas into the publics minds, causing a disadvantage to the defendant. As stated in an article titled, “Televised Trials: Weighing Advantages against Disadvantages” by Susanna R. Barber, “Trial publicity may serve a crime control function and reassure viewers that justice is being served; but this same publicity encourages negative perceptions of criminals and fosters prejudice against defendants.” (280). This explains that yes, having a case that is publicized and open for interpretation by the world is just, but also that this type of exposure to a case can be detrimental to the defendants case. thus, giving them a disadvantage over a less high profile case.
Another reason these high profile cases have many disadvantages is similar but different to the last. As the last example this one talks about media coverage and being in the public eye, however, the difference is that the emotional effect on these criminals is toxic. These criminals are placed under a microscope and all of their mistakes are played out in front of not only a court, but the entire world. “Preparing for the High Profile Case: An Omnibus Treatment for Judges and Lawyers”, an article written by Gerald T. Wetherington, Hanson Lawton and Donald I. Pollock explores the idea that not only the criminals are at a disadvantage, but also the judges and lawyers taking on the case. “A judge who is assigned to preside over a high profile case should expect to be confronted with explosive free press and fair trial issues even before the first scheduled hearing.” (430). These judges are forced to deal with the backlash of the media and public outburst before the case is even closed.
Because so much publicity comes before the case is even in court for high profile criminals, “the necessity for court officers to begin preparations to handle the extraordinary judicial management problems that such cases generate.” (Pollock, 431). This means that so much money is involved in these cases that the court needs to be ready for all of the financial responsibilities that are to come and are able to replenish their losses at the end. In this case, the disadvantage is that their is a lot of money involved in cases that are of such high stature. Both the court and the defendant could lose a lot of money in this process.
Lastly, high profile criminal cases are at a disadvantage because it is noticed “that television exposure is a form of public punishment, leading to permanent stigmatization in the eyes of the community” (Barber, 282). In other words, those involved in these cases may gain a shameful reputation after the case is closed, even if they are found not guilty simply because of the negative exposure their case obtained in the media.
It is important to realize that not everyone will have the same opinion as you. I do realize that my belief that celebrities are treated better than average criminals is unorthodox and that more people believe that these high profile cases are at a disadvantage. Others believe that celebrity criminals can lose everything in a court of law just like anybody else, however, I disagree with that statement.
Susanna R. Barber, Televised Trials: Weighing Advantages against Disadvantages, 10 Just. Sys. J. 279 (1985)
Gerald T. Wetherington; Hanson Lawton; Donald I. Pollock, Preparing for the High Profile Case: An Omnibus Treatment for Judges and Lawyers, 51 Fla. L. Rev. 425 (1999)