76 B.U. L. Rev. 537 (1996)
Punishing the Press: Using Contempt of Court to Secure the Right of a Fair Trial

handle is hein.journals/bulr76 and id is 547 raw text is: PUNISHING THE PRESS:
USING CONTEMPT OF COURT TO SECURE
THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL
STEPHEN J. KRAUSE
Many sensational cases, such as the trials of Oliver North,' Marion
Barry,2 Leona Helmsley,' and Pamela Smart,4 just to name a few, have
forced trial courts to confront the impact of saturation coverage on a
defendant's ability to obtain a fair trial. The upcoming Unabomber
trial of Theodore Kaczynski promises similar coverage. The O.J. Simp-
son case5 presented this same issue on an even larger scale. From the
moment police discovered Simpson's ex-wife murdered, media coverage
of the arrest and trial of the former football star saturated the nation.
Not only did popular magazines constantly reveal new details question-
ing Simpson's innocence, but television shows such as Hard Copy rarely
allowed a week to pass without interviewing distraught family members
or uncovering new and seamy facts about the case.7 The New York
Times printed potentially highly prejudicial allegations that Simpson had
1 United States v. North, 920 F.2d 940 (examining the charge that Lt. Col. North
sold arms to Nicaraguan rebels during the Iran-Contra affair), cert. denied, 500 U.S.
941 (1991).
2 United States v. Barry, 938 F.2d 1327 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (convicting Barry of co-
caine possession), aff'd, 961 F.2d 260 (D.C. Cir. 1992).
a United States v. Helmsley, 941 F.2d 71 (2d Cir. 1991) (charging hotel mogul
Helmsley with income tax evasion), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1091 (1992).
1 State v. Smart, 663 A.2d 1197 (N.H.) (affirming the conviction of Smart, a high
school teacher, who reportedly had an affair with one of her students and then per-
suaded the student to murder her husband), cert. denied, Smart v. New Hampshire,
114 S. Ct. 309 (1993).
r State v. Simpson, No. BA-097211 (Cal. Super. Ct. filed July 22, 1994).
6 See generally, e.g., Richard Hoffer, Fatal Attraction?, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, June
27, 1994, at 16 (describing both the crime scene and the Simpsons' reportedly abusive
marriage); Susan Schindehette, The Man with Two Faces, PEOPLE, July 4, 1994, at 32
(claiming that although O.J. possessed infinite charm in public, he was given to
frightening rages in private).
7 Hard Copy (syndicated television broadcast, Feb. 28, 1995) (reporting that Britta-
ny McKrenna, former girlfriend of Kato Kaelin, said that Nicole Simpson bathed top-
less in front of Kaelin); Hard Copy (syndicated television broadcast, Feb. 23, 1995)
(reporting that Faye Resnick, a friend of Nicole, said that O.J. suspected Kaelin of
having an affair with Nicole); Hard Copy (syndicated television broadcast, Feb. 15,
1995) (reporting that musician Michael Jackson had offered privacy to O.J.'s chil-
dren); Hard Copy (syndicated television broadcast, Feb. 8, 1995) (reporting Resnick's
537

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