The world watches and predicts the only outcome they feel is justified, as the most notorious high profile cases comes across their screen. It simply never crosses anyone’s mind that someone accused of the unimaginable is going to be released back into society, and be allowed to walk amongst them. However, far too many times the world has been not only proven wrong, but shocked beyond belief at the outcome of those trials. It makes you scratch your head as you try to figure out, how this could happen.
All around the world as high profile cases are being aired, individuals fixate their eyes on the court proceedings, which is provided by mainstream press. Ask yourself. Could the very same press that fills our need to know what is going on, also be responsible for the outcome of the trial?
Keeping that question in mind, go back to the year 2011. There were three verdicts in particular, where statistics says it does. Due to the exposure of the cases, society gained an assessment, which ultimately effected the outcome of the trial.
Casey Anthony is a name known worldwide, having been accused of murdering her two year old daughter, then putting her body in the trunk of her car, and disposing of it in the woods. 30 days passed by before she reported her missing, and it was said that she spent those 30 days partying and living it up, without making anyone aware of her daughter’s disappearance.
The world was shocked when she was found not guilty, and statistics prove that two out of three Americans believed that she was guilty. So why did this happen? Legal professionals foreseen her acquittal long before the verdict was even read. Casey’s attorney played off of the mainstream coverage her trial was gaining, by stating to the jury that if she was found guilty it would not be because of the facts in the case; it would be because of the intensity of the media coverage. This generated a feeling of guilt amongst the jury. Upon reading the verdict, mayhem engulfed amongst social media groups.
Another high profile case hit the airwaves. Amanda Knox, who the Italian press later referred to as “Foxy Knoxy.” She was an American college student, who was charged with the violent murder of a British student. Although, Knox was initially found guilty, the mainstream press in America painted her picture differently. They portrayed her as an American girl victimized by the Italian government. The courts eventually overturned their verdict, and despite the fact that she was seen as an overindulged American mental case; in America she was a female conqueror. The world’s assessment of her established due to media coverage.
The utmost appalling outcome of a high profile case within the year 2011, was the emancipation of the West Memphis Three. Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were found guilty for the murders of three eight year old boys in the year 1993. Misskelley admitted to the murders, while stating that Baldwin and Echols assisted him in the killings.
They were just teenagers at the time, but the media coverage and the police officers portrayed them to the public as cold-blooded killers, who killed for the enjoyment of it. The crime infuriated worldwide audiences, and the media press continued to grow. Following the guilty verdict, Misskelley stated that he was driven into a false confession. Baldwin and Echols had never admitted to anything.
Shortly thereafter, a documentary called, “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hills,” soon gained a lot of attention and generated concern amongst investigators, superstars and the mainstream press. Only a year passed by before they were freed, and even a charity performance was held by certain superstars, in-order to construct support for their conviction. At the time of their release, they admitted no guilt, but the judge essentially released them due to the uncertainties involving their case.
In all three of these cases, the mainstream press played a substantial role in the outcome. Regardless if the verdict is for the better, or for the worse. Juries habitually either become influenced by the mainstream press, or they defy against it. Either way, their perception of the trial is still persuaded by it. The importance of accurate press training is crucial, especially when it comes to the outcome of high profile cases such as these.