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Thread: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Michael Jackson in a wide-ranging television interview said he believes he "won God's smile of approval" for bringing youngsters to his Neverland ranch.

    The superstar, who is under a gag order during his child molestation trial in Santa Barbara County, didn't directly proclaim his innocence in the interview scheduled to air Saturday.


    This might be one for our lawyer friends here at RZ. I am not a Michael Jackson fan. However, it got me thinking when I heard a report on the radio this morning. Michael did an interview and was not allowed, per the gag order, to discuss the case at hand.

    My question... why can't he discuss it? The man(?) is charged with a felony crime and if found guilty would more than likely be sentenced to jail. But he is not allowed to speak about his professed innocence in this case... outside of the courtroom? Let us pretend that he is innocent of these charges (I don't know if he is or not). Let us also pretend that someone was charging you with the same crime. You are told that you will face charges if you speak publicly about the case and/or charges against you. How would you feel?

    If anything I would think freedom of speech would be most important if you are in Michael's glove right now. Charged with crimes and cannot speak about those charges in public. Doesn't quite seem fair to me. I don't care how famous a person is... does that mean they are denied rights in the Constitution that less-than-famous people may have?

    What do you think?
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFanAlways1966
    If anything I would think freedom of speech would be most important if you are in Michael's glove right now.


    RFA, I don't mean to trivialize your thread, and I have nothing of substance to add, but I had to say that the last half of that sentence almost made me spit Wheaties. Very funny.

    The man(?)...
    This part made me chuckle, too.

    Why am I this easily humored? It must be Friday.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    I'm guessing there's a gag order because the judge in the case doesn't want to taint the jury pool either way.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    Aren't gag orders to prevent poisoning the jury pool?

    EDIT: Chip beat me to it.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    Good point and you guys are right, Chip and '62. But it seems to be discriminating when a person who is very high profile like Michael gets the gag order and the normal Joe in the same case may not. We all want our children to grow up, be successful and happy. Michael is very-very rich and you can say that he is/was very successful in the music industry. In return for being successful, he is told that he may face charges if he publicly declares his innocence. It kind makes the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" hold no water IMO.

    The jury being tainted thing is kind of ironic in a way for this case. If there is actually someone out there who has not seen or heard about this case yet (or has not formed some sort of opinion due to the time that it has been in the news), then I would doubt that Michael claiming innocence in public would effect these "qualified to serve as a jury member for this case people" anyhow.

    macro... I found it too easy (of course) to come up w/ those little things when writing about Michael!
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Member ochre's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    In this case it might also have to do with protecting the alledged victim. That is/should be a priority in any case such as this, especially when they are minors.
    4009



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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    I'd say that this gag order may well be aimed more at the prosecution team than Jackson.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  9. #8
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    More good points! I am sure you guys are right. I guess it goes to show how powerful the media can be. I wonder when court gag orders began? Is it a recent thing or does it date back long ago? We all have heard stories about old-time ballplayers doing crazy stufff and it would never get reported (Babe Ruth!). And nowadays if a celebrity farts... we get to hear about the length and odor of their important action.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  10. #9
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Freedom of Speech? Court Gag Orders

    The right to due process in this case supercedes the right to free speech. Allowing open discussion of this case would seriously compromise due process.
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