U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Attitudes of Media Attorneys Concerning Closed Criminal Proceedings (From Censorship, Secrecy, Access, and Obscenity, P 149-175, 1990, Theodore R Kupferman, ed. -- See NCJ-125023)

NCJ Number
F D Hale
Date Published
27 pages
This article reports on the results of a survey of media attorneys designed to determine their attitudes toward closed criminal proceedings.
Questionnaires were sent to 20 law firms that had represented plaintiffs or defendants in 100 appeals or libel cases during the previous 4 years. The four-page questionnaire consisted of 24 closed-ended and 5 open-ended items. Three questions concerned the right of the press to attend criminal trials; 19 concerned libel; and 7 examined characteristics of the responding attorneys and their practice. The attorneys differed significantly in their attitudes toward closed pretrial hearings and closed criminal trials. Forty-five disagreed or disagreed strongly with closed hearings, compared to 63 who objected to closed trials. Attitudes were positively and significantly associated with an attorney's press law practice, liberal political beliefs, perception of the press as cautious with facts prior to Burger Court decisions that limited libel protection, and perception of press commentary as understating Burger Court damage to press freedom. The closure attitudes were negatively and significantly associated with whether an attorney ever represented clients suing the media and whether the attorney perceived Burger Court decisions as not limiting press libel protection. 2 tables, 7 footnotes.


No download available