Chandler v. Florida

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Chandler v. Florida
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued November 12, 1980
Decided January 26, 1981
Full case nameChandler v. Florida
Citations449 U.S. 560 (more)
101 S. Ct. 802; 66 L. Ed. 2d 740
The Constitution does not prohibit a state from experimenting with a program such as is authorized by Florida's Canon 3A (7).
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun · Lewis F. Powell Jr.
William Rehnquist · John P. Stevens
Case opinions
MajorityBurger, joined by Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist
Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Chandler v. Florida, 449 U.S. 560 (1981), was a legal case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that a state could allow the broadcast and still photography coverage of criminal trials. While refraining from formally overruling Estes v. Texas, which in 1965 held that media coverage was “infringing the fundamental right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” it effectively did so.


After the media was allowed to televise a portion of their case, two Miami Beach police officers filed suit objecting to the coverage case. The two police officers were charged with burglarizing a Miami Beach restaurant.[1]

Question Before the Court[edit]

Does media coverage of a criminal's trial violate the accused right to a fair trial protected by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments?[1]

Decision of the Court[edit]

In an 8-0 decision in favor of the State of Florida, Chief Justice Burger wrote the opinion for the Supreme Court. Citing Estes v. Texas (1964), the Court denied Chandler's claim that a media presence in the courtroom is offensive to due process. So long as the "evolving technology" does not infringe on "fundamental guarantees" of the accused, the media does not violate a person's constitutional right to due process. Further, the Court noted that the previous statute upheld by the Florida State Supreme Court implemented strict guidelines "intended to protect the right of a defendant to a fair trial" in regards to the medias coverage of a criminal trial.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Chandler v. Florida - 449 U.S. 560 (1981)". Oyez: Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  2. ^ Chandler v. Florida, 449 U.S. 560 (1981).

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ares, Charles E. (1981). "Chandler v. Florida: Television, Criminal Trials, and Due Process". The Supreme Court Review. The Supreme Court Review, Vol. 1981. 1981: 157–192. JSTOR 3109543.
  • Jennings, James M., II (1982). "Is Chandler a Final Rewrite of Estes?". Journalism Quarterly. 59 (1): 66–73. doi:10.1177/107769908205900110.
  • Nesson, Charles R.; Koblenz, Andrew D. (1981). "The Image of Justice: Chandler v. Florida". Harvard Civil Rights—Civil Liberties Law Review. 16 (2): 405–413.

External links[edit]