Chandler and Granger v. Florida, 449 U.S. 560; 101 S. Ct. 802; 66 L. Ed. 2d 740 (1981)

Chandler and Granger v. Florida, 449 U.S. 560; 101 S. Ct. 802; 66 L. Ed. 2d 740 (1981)

Facts—A canon of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct permitted still photography and electronic media coverage of judicial proceedings subject to the control of the presiding judge. The trial judges were obliged to protect the fundamental right of the accused in a criminal case to a fair trial. A jury in a Florida trial court convicted appellants Chandler and Granger, former Miami Beach policemen, who were charged with a crime that attracted media attention, over objections that the television coverage of parts of their trials denied them a fair and impartial trial.

Question—Does televising a criminal trial deny the accused his fundamental right to a fair trial as is guaranteed by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?


ReasonsC.J. Burger (8–0). “An absolute constitutional ban on broadcast coverage of trials cannot be justified simply because there is a danger that, in some cases, prejudicial broadcast accounts of pretrial and trial events may impair the ability of jurors to decide the issue of guilt or innocence uninflunced by extraneous matter. The risk of juror prejudice is present in any publication of a trial, but the appropriate safeguard against such prejudice is the defendant’s right to demonstrate that the media’s coverage of his case—be it printed or broadcast—compromised the ability of the particular jury that heard the case to adjudicate fairly. The Florida guidelines place on trial judges positive obligations to be on guard to protect the fundamental right of the accused to a fair trial. To demonstrate prejudice in a specific case a defendant must show something more than juror awareness that the trial is such as to attract the attention of broadcasters unless we were to conclude that television coverage under all conditions is prohibited by the Constitution, the states must be free to experiment because this court has no supervisory authority over state courts, our review is confined to whether there is a constitutional violation. We hold that the Constitution does not prohibit a state from experimenting with [its] program.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Law Faculty
error: Content is protected !!