Guilty Before Trial: A Comparison of American and Spanish Juries and their Treatment of Pretrial Publicity

Featured Student Note: Guilty Before Trial: A Comparison of American and Spanish Juries and their Treatment of Pretrial Publicity

In the U.S., the right of the public to attend trials is implied in the First Amendment’s guarantees. Spain, as a civil law country, does not have direct regulation on the press’s right to cover trials. Allowing trials to be accessible to the citizenry does have benefits from the public’s standpoint. Public trials increase public confidence in the justice system and allow for community approval when they “see justice done.” However, the public’s access to a trial may come into tension with the Sixth Amendment guarantee to a fair jury trial. Thus, it may become necessary to implement protections to balance public access to trials with trial fairness. This Note will compare the U.S. and Spanish system’s respective approaches to the press’s right to access jury trials, review the structural safeguards each country has implemented to prevent pretrial publicity from influencing jurors, and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

Ashley Chacon’s Note

Guilty Before Trial