Meet the Press: Dealing with the Media in High Profile Cases

“In the context of judicial proceedings, an attorney’s First Amendment rights are not without limits. Although litigants and lawyers do not Untitledcheck their First Amendment rights at the courthouse door, those rights are often subordinated to other interests inherent in the judicial setting.”

Bd. of Prof’l Responsibility of Supreme Court of Tennessee v. Slavin, 145 S.W.3d 538, 549 (Tenn. 2004)

Pretrial publicity is often seen as a war for the hearts and minds of the jury. The Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as local rules, govern what attorneys and prosecutors may convey to the media in criminal cases. There is always a great deal of tension between what the Rules dictate and reality where police, family members, victims and others are already talking to the media.

Basic Rules

  • Get your client off Facebook
  • Get your client’s family to refrain from social media.
  • Be prepared for the Perpetrator Walk  ( don’t duck and cover  !)
  • Instead of “No Comment,” your client can advise that “my lawyer may be in a position to answer your questions.”
  • When you speak to the media do it in sound bites.
  • Know what you are going to say.
  • Be accurate.
  • Be careful about “off the record” comments
  • If you cannot speak to an issue, refer the media to a colleague who might be able to.

Click Meet the Press to download our  free booklet which addresses the following issues

Tennessee Rule of Professional Conduct for Attorneys                Page 2

Tennessee Rule of Professional Conduct for Prosecutors             Page 30

Special Additional Rules in Federal Court.                                       Page 42

Obligation to be Truthful and Respect Rights of Third Persons.   Page 46

Media Public Records Access and Protecting Discovery.                Page 52

Slander                                                                                                       Page 80

Insulting the Judge                                                                                 Page 83

Closure of Court Proceedings                                                               Page 103

Gag Orders                                                                                                Page 114

Change of Venue                                                                                      Page 127

Speaking to Jurors                                                                                   Page 141

ABOUT David Raybin
David Raybin

David Raybin is a partner at Raybin & Weissman and he heads up the criminal defense section of the firm. With more than 35 years of experience, David has been named the Best Criminal Lawyer in Nashville by Best Lawyers in America, and listed among the Best Criminal Lawyers in the state by Tennessee Business magazine.

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