chapter  8
6 Pages

The Judge: Justice in Prime Time

WithThomas S. Hodson

The interrelationship between the media and the courts is an adversarial one. Scholars may debate whether it is the public that has the inherent appetite for crime, violence and the drama of the criminal justice system, or whether it is the news and entertainment media that have created the demand. The role of the criminal justice system appears to be to create situations the media can use to supply the public's cravings. Public preoccupation with crime is not new. Crime excites and stimulates us. Some people might argue that the boom in criminal court coverage is healthy, that it enhances public knowledge of the workings of our judicial system. The judges in the film "The Star Chamber" secretly arranged for the execution of defendants whom they had to release because of legal technicalities. The most recent national and state polls indicate that approximately 75 percent of adult Americans know little to nothing about the functioning of our court systems.