• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court struck down a conviction on grounds of excessive publicity during a trial.

Justice Tom C. ClarkClark, Tom C.;Sheppard v. Maxwell[Sheppard v. Maxwell] wrote the opinion for an 8-1 majority, overturning the conviction of Sam Sheppard for the murder of his wife. Clark found that the trial judge had allowed excessive pretrial and trial publicity, creating a circus atmosphere and denying Sheppard a fair trial. Rather than presenting evidence that the doctor had actually killed his wife, the prosecution focused on Sheppard’s extramarital affairs, which were publicized by the media. The facts of this case became the premise for a television series, a film, and numerous documentaries in the last half of the twentieth century.Pretrial publicity and gag rule;Sheppard v. Maxwell[Sheppard v. Maxwell]

Due process, procedural

Jury, trial by

Speech and press, freedom of

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