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Can The Media Attend My Trial?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure specifically states that "[i]t is the duty of the trial court, the attorney representing the accused, the attorney representing the state and all peace officers to so conduct themselves as to insure a fair trial for both the state and the defendant, not impair the presumption of innocence, and at the same time afford the public the benefits of a free press." Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 2.03. As we stated yesterday, the presumption of innocence is of fundamental importance to ensuring the defendant a fair trial.

There is, however, a constant friction between the right to a presumption of innocence and the right for the public to utilize the free press. A courtroom is a public place--anyone, anytime can go down to the courthouse and watch a trial. In both England and America historically, it was very common for the public to attend court session as a "common mode of 'passing the time.'" Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 572 (1980).

The Supreme Court of the United States has held that members of the media are entitled to attend court proceedings. However, what happens if this offends the person's right to a fair trial.

If you have been charged with a theft crime or white collar crime, contact a Plano criminal defense lawyer.