A University of Northern Iowa professor says the sexual assault charges and resulting publicity against NBA star Kobe Bryant raise a lot of questions about the legal system. The blanket media coverage in both news and sportscasts is one thing Keith Crew — the head of UNI’s Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology Department — is watching. He says the media hype doesn’t necessarily keep Bryant from getting a fair trial. He says the media coverage will affect both sides. And he says we don’t give jurors enough credit for putting aside things they’ve heard in the media. Crew says it’s up to the attorneys to educate the jurors that they have to weigh the evidence presented in the court. Crew says extensive media coverage of such trials has become a part of our society as it’s part of a modern community and people will hear about cases if they involve a celebrity or are particularly gruesome. Crew says another case involving a famous athlete proves media coverage doesn’t always shape a trial. He says the O.J. Simpson case is a good example because if the O.J. jury listened to what the TV said they should do, it would’ve been a “slam-dunk case.” He says the jury obviously didn’t. Crew says a change of venue is probably more likely in a small Iowa town, but not because of pre-trial publicity. He says the jury pool is more likely to have a relationship with the perpetrator or victim in a small town. Crew says there are lots of other issues at play in the Bryant trial too — there’s race, celebrity, and he says we still don’t have a lot of segments of the society that has a realistic view of this type of crime. Crew says he doesn’t think we can do anything to change the publicity and hype that sometimes surrounds trials, without causing more problems.
You are here: / / Do media slant trial jurors