Sheppard v. Maxwell

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Sheppard v. Maxwell
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued February 28, 1966
Decided June 6, 1966
Full case nameSheppard v. Maxwell
Citations384 U.S. 333 (more)
86 S.Ct. 1507; 16 L. Ed. 2d 600; 1966 U.S. LEXIS 1413; 1 Med. L. Rptr. 1220
Case history
PriorAppeal from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Holding
Sheppard did not receive a fair trial due to media interference.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
Tom C. Clark · John M. Harlan II
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Abe Fortas
Case opinions
MajorityClark, joined by Warren, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, White, Fortas
DissentBlack
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, U.S. Const. amend. VI

Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1966), was a United States Supreme Court case that examined the rights of freedom of the press as outlined in the First Amendment when weighed against a defendant's right to a fair trial as required by the Sixth Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In particular, the court sought to determine whether or not the defendant was denied fair trial for the second-degree murder of his wife, of which he was convicted, because of the trial judge's failure to protect Sheppard sufficiently from the massive, pervasive, and prejudicial publicity that attended his prosecution.

Background[edit]

After suffering a trial court conviction of second-degree murder for the bludgeoning death of his pregnant wife, Sam Sheppard challenged the verdict as the product of an unfair trial. Sheppard, who maintained his innocence of the crime, alleged that the trial judge failed to protect him from the massive, widespread, and prejudicial publicity that attended his prosecution. On appeal from an Ohio district court ruling supporting his claim, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision. When Sheppard appealed again, the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Decision[edit]

Justice Clark delivered the opinion of the court:

This federal habeas corpus application involves the question whether Sheppard was deprived of a fair trial in his state conviction for the second-degree murder of his wife because of the trial judge's failure to protect Sheppard sufficiently from the massive, pervasive and prejudicial publicity that attended his persecution... We have concluded that Sheppard did not receive a fair trial consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and, therefore, reverse the judgement.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bender, John (2016). Cases and Questions for Mass Media Law. University of Nebraska. p. 279.

External links[edit]