Summary of the Case
The prisoners who were under life sentences of murder submitted their applications for leave against the refusal of their conviction by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The prisoners kept striving to appeal against this decision and decided to have an oral interview with the journalists who were interested in their cases and wanted to publish them in the newspaper. However, according to the policy of the Home Secretary journalists were only allowed to take oral interviews if they would sign written undertakings that they would not publish these cases. Journalists refused to sign the undertakings; hence, the prisoners challenged the court for refusing their right to have an oral interview.
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What Were the Main Legal Points Raised by Their Lordships in the Court of Appeal?
Counsel for the Home Secretary argued that Home Secretary have enough power to impose a ban on the interview of prisoners by the journalists. Home secretaries are authorized to impose a complete ban on any kind of interviews by journalists for any reason. Even if the intention of the prisoners is to publicize their case in media to seek aid and for accessing investigative resources, to seek advice & help against an alleged injustice.
What Was the Outcome of the Case?
The decision of the court that defendants were not violated of their rights of having an attorney in due process was given by Justice Stewart. The defendants were not advised of their rights and were arrested.
The court’s decision was reasonable, as the right to counsel comes into play at the time of detention and questioning, but it is not necessary before this or after that. Their arrest was made based on their suspicious behavior, which is not relayed in the facts cited in the court’s decision. Later at the police station, the victim certainly identified the robber. Defendant’s claim that they should have the right to self-incrimination, and police acted against it, was disapproved by the court. Court’s decision that self-incrimination, which involves someone to speak on their behalf as cited in other cases, comes into play during custody and questioning, not before or after that.
Analysis of concurring or dissenting opinion
The concurring opinion was given by Justice Burger and Justice Powell who affirmed the court’s decision. Both justices’ opinions were logical, which gave a clear statement that the decision of the court is reasonable.
The dissenting opinion was stated by Justice Brennan. Justice Douglas, Justice Marshall, Justice White also joined him. Justice for a positive decision. The dissenting opinion is about the way the defendants were lineup at the police station. The victim identified the defendants because of their show-up at the police station and it was not related to the lineup. Justice Brennan’s dissenting opinion states that this show-up is well indicative because the defendants were sitting with the police officers at the table.
Court held that defendant’s arrest in the first place was not relayed in the decisions of the court in the sixth and fourth amendment. Defendants were held on the basis to be identified for another crime therefore, rules of detention would not apply to this. Due process rights were not violated, which are applicable only when the accused is in custody because of a criminal trial and conviction.
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