chapter  7
8 Pages

The Lawyer: “A Chill Wind Blows”

WithWilliam M. Kunstler

Newspapers daily devote considerable space to reports of the trial, together with a plethora of opinion pieces. The prosecution of a routine crime, flamboyantly billed by one press source as "the most important trial of the year", is being afforded the full treatment. From a strict civil liberties viewpoint, it is obvious that given such media coverage it is next to impossible for anything approximating the ideal of a therapeutically fair trial to take place. However, to criticize substantial, even overwhelming, press coverage as an impediment to a fair criminal trial presupposes that, in this society, such trials are possible. The State will be free to poison the prospective triers of the fact ab initio while those it seeks to destroy will be shorn of even their limited opportunities to preserve their lives or their liberties. The administration of justice will have become nothing short of a grotesque, or, in words of Franz Kafka, "a summary court in perpetual session".