Supreme Court Case: Sheppard V. Maxwell 1966

analytical Essay
1311 words
1311 words

Supreme Court Case: Sheppard V. Maxwell 1966

Supreme Court Case Sheppard V. Maxwell is the first case in American history to question whether the American right to a fair trial should be interrupted by the American right to freely publish one’s thoughts and opinions. Sheppard’s conviction, brought on by the biased eye of the press, was exonerated. However, concluded from the lack of policy alterations post-trial, the Sheppard V. Maxwell case still informally decided media is no real threat in the court system. Some may say otherwise. Although media may not directly affect court rulings, the press can certainly affect the public’s opinion, which in turn can affect a court case.
Sheppard V. Maxwell Revisited—Do the Traditional Rules Work for Nontraditional Media?, an article written by G. A. Hengstler, visits the main question raised in Sheppard V. Maxwell. Hengstler does not disagree in his article that the press may not have been that threatening in decades prior when media was primitive, but he argues that media is a sure threat today. It shall be clarified that the media in the 1960’s cannot compare to today’s rapid technological advancements. The rise in technology has led to a new competitor in the news field that utterly baffles journalists—the internet. Mainstream journalists are aware of ethical codes, but can that be said for every at home blogger or amateur critic?
The marketplace demands that mainstream journalists do the moral thing, unless they would rather feel the viewers’ wrath in a sharp decrease of ratings. Amateur bloggers, on the other hand, do not have the fear of losing viewers. It’s the web, so what the heck right? This is a problem that needs addressing. Hengstler insists that “Technology has chan...

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... commit the crime and provides the prosecution’s side of the story.

Salamon, J. (2001, November 11). 'the wrong man': Dr. sam sheppard's defense rests. New York Times. Retrieved from
‘The Wrong Man’ is an article in the New York Times newspaper written by Julie Salamon about Dr. Sam Sheppard’s personal convictions after being exonerated. Salamon explains the deal with the books and movies that have been inspired by Sam Sheppard and the Sheppard V. Maxwell trials.

Innocence Project. (2003). Retrieved from
The Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to exonerate all the wrongfully convicted criminals. They have successfully proved the innocence of 400 some odd people, 18 of which were serving on death row. is their official website.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how jonathan entin puts a different perspective on how the law feels about the sheppard v. maxwell case by giving insight on the prosecutor's perspective.
  • Analyzes how the media could have a reverse effect on the case of sam sheppard. the fugitive became popular and widespread in the late 60's. projects like the innocence project were kicked-started in response.
  • Explains that the innocence project is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to exonerate all wrongfully convicted criminals. they have proved the innocence of 400 people, 18 of whom were serving on death row.
  • Concludes that the supreme court case sheppard v. maxwell informally decided media is no real threat in the court system.
  • Opines that the sheppard v. maxwell case was the key for evaluating ohio's legal system.
  • Opines that the same thing that got sheppard wrongly convicted in the first place is now serving his legacy—the media.
  • Analyzes how sheppard v. maxwell revisited—do the traditional rules work for nontraditional media relates to the advancements in modern technology and if the laws and norms should still apply.
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