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MMC 4200, Week 2 Notes

by: Deena Acree

MMC 4200, Week 2 Notes MMC 4200

Deena Acree
GPA 3.87

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About this Document

Remainder of chapter 1 and beginning chapter 2. The court system, jurisdiction, the top 10 landmark cases for the First Amendment, what the First Amendment is, when to call a lawyer, and genera...
Law of Mass Communications
Sandra Chance
Class Notes
media law, Law, mass communication, law of mass communication, first amendment, court systems, SCOTUS
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Deena Acree on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MMC 4200 at University of Florida taught by Sandra Chance in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see Law of Mass Communications in Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Florida.


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Date Created: 02/02/16
Class Three (Chapter 1) — 1/12/16 Chapter 1: Public Communication and the Law • Expectation for all exams is that we've read everything in the book, so make sure to read! Important things to know about the law: Today, the US Supreme Court struck down Florida's Death Penalty law, ruling it unconstitutional • It was an 8 to 1 ruling • Most SCOTUS rulings are 5-4 split • This doesn't mean that a new law won't be drafted; just that the previous one was struck down • Means that some of the inmates on death row will have their cases reviewed Sources of Law (6) • Constitutions • Statutes • Administrative agencies • Executive branch • Common law • Law of equity (historically important but is now combined with the court of law ) Court systems (covered more later in class) • Federal • Trial courts o The only place where there are juries • Appellate courts o People can usually get one appeal per case o Each party lays out their arguments for the appeal • Supreme courts o You have to appeal again to the supreme courts o You have to write a writ of Certiorari o Roughly 8000-9000 cases submitted per year o You have to be approved to pr actice before the supreme court o Sometimes it takes up to 10 years to get a case heard o Other times cases are tried extremely fast because of the importance of the issue • Example of this is the 2000 election (Bush vs Gore) • State 9 members of the US Supreme Court (from class on 1/7) • John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States • Antonin Scalia • Anthony M. Kennedy • Clarence Thomas • Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Stephen G. Breyer • Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. • Sonia Sotomayor • Elena Kagan Top Ten Landmark Cases (comes from Time Magazine) (these are very important) o Brown v. Board of Education • The court said that segregation (concept of "separate, but equal") was not constitutional • Began the process of integrating schools o Roe v. Wade • The right to choose (abortion) • Gives you a right to privacy, to make your own decisions about your own body o Miranda v. Arizona • Miranda Rights; people in custody have the right to understand their 5th amendment rights o Marbury v. Madison • The supreme court created the idea of ju dicial review • Gave the supreme court the ultimate power to decide if laws are constitutional or not o United States v. Nixon • The court laid out the presidential powers (Nixon was being investigated for Watergate crimes & was refusing to turn over information ) • They said that he did not have executive privilege to recordings of what happens in the oval office o Loving v. Virginia • Struck down the bans on interracial marriage o District of Columbia v. Heller • Upheld the broad interpretation of the second amendment o Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission • Has to do with campaign finance laws • Struck down campaign laws and tried to restrict outside money • Determined that money counted as free speech o Plessy v. Ferguson • Case where the court justices (1896) said that th e "separate but equal" doctrine made a lot of sense o Korematsu v. United States • Internment camps • Court ruled for the government; said it was okay to intern hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans to be forced into internment camps during World War II • "upheld the right of the federal government to inter Japanese Americans" PBS: SCOTUS part 3 video • Marbury v. Madison case • On paper, involved a small administrative question • At the very end of John Adam's presidency, he appointed a lot of anti -Jefferson judges • The court decided that they were going to be the ultimate authority about the law of the land Court Systems • Federal o Jurisdiction: how do you decide which court has jurisdiction? § Jurisdiction: the official power to make legal decisions and judgments. § Sometimes a case can start in one side of court and end up in the other side because of jurisdictional issues o Two kinds of jurisdiction: § Territory • Depends on where the law is that you're protesting • (same thing with criminal laws—unless you start talking about constitutional issues) § Subject Matter • Some cases have to be held in the federal court because of supremacy clause • Statutes that impinge on constitutional rights go to federal courts • Federal courts rule on federal statutes and matters involved with the federal government (aka suing one of their agencies) • Federal courts deal with diversity ca ses o Refers to diversity of citizenship (not social diversity) o Cases where there are controversies between parties from different states o Aka plaintiff from Florida vs defendant from Georgia o The federal courts are a neutral party in this scenario • State Jurisdiction Over Subjects in Communications Law • Federal • Broadcast • Cable • Copyright • Patents • Access to federal gov't meetings/records • State • Privacy torts • Libel • Access to state/local meetings • Cameras in court • Places that overlap: • Trademark • Corporate speech • Advertising regulations o can be federal laws or state laws o as long as they don't conflict —federal law prevails o This is the supremacy clause idea • Antitrust law • Obscenity Federal v. State Courts (highest to lowest) • Federal o Supreme Court of the United Stat es o US Court of Appeals o US District Courts • State o Supreme Court of State of XXX o Courts of Appeal o Trial Courts § County court or circuit court § Circuit courts can be trial or appeals courts § Damages above $15,000 goes to circuit court § Small claims (below $15k) go to county court • Maps in notes: o The thirteen circuits of the US Courts of Appeals § Washington DC gets its own Court of Appeals (because the government is in DC) o Federal districts of Florida: § Northern district § Middle district § Southern district The Florida Supreme Court • Smaller than SCOTUS; only 7 justices o Each state gets to set its own number o Biggest difference between FL Supreme Court and US Supreme Court: length of terms § Federal are appointed for life § State court systems: they have to be elected • Have to run for reelection • Happens every 6 years in FL • FL has a retention vote: o You don't just vote yes/no, you vote to retain or not to retain a justice o You don't run against justices § Advantages/disadvantages of lifetime judicial seats: • Good: Less likely to be influenc ed by what is currently popular (don't need to please constituents) Bad: you're stuck with them & it’s really hard to get rid of them • § Advantages/disadvantages of elected judges: • Good: the people have more of a voice with their vote —judges care more about what you have to say • Bad: becomes a popularity contest —who has the most funding instead of who is more qualified § The hope is that the combination of the two things makes for an independent and unbiased judiciary Florida Appellate Courts • 5 of them • First appellate district • Second appellate district • Third appellate district • Fourth appellate district • Fifth appellate district Important Info about Laws o Generally two types of laws: • Ensuring freedom § Often called "positive laws" • Provide stability, order, and security t o society by prohibiting certain behavior § Often called "negative laws" o Two big ideas/terms: • Stare Decisis § Means "let it stand" § Judicial philosophy that says that once a decision is made, the other courts have to follow it § Foundation of the common law § Once courts lay down a specific law, other courts dealing with the same issue have to decide it the same way § Big idea behind this is that if the court ruled one way for someone, it should rule the same way for someone else § A very hot political issue • Big case that some people want to be overruled is Roe v. Wade • If you're pro-life you like the idea of a changing legal perspective § A doctrine that looks at the value of stability, consistency, and precedent • Doesn't say that precedence is immutable • They have to change in certain circumstances • The circumstances have to include: • The reliance that society has put on the precedent • The cost of changing it • Whatever the courts have said and the guidance that it places on lower courts • New developments in the situat ion or in other similar situations that are related • Also looks at the number of times that a precedent has be reaffirmed • Casey (?) decision: it used to be illegal to buy contraception • Precedents § The fundamental cases that you follow when it comes to a situ ation that has been decided beforehand § Justice Connor once described it as walking through wet concrete: other courts have to follow in the footsteps that are made § They add stability and predictability in the legal system § Courts bow down to the experience and wisdom of the judges that came before them § Depending on which courts issue a ruling, other courts may or may not have to follow the ruling • Local cases don't have the weight or ruling of national or federal cases § Judges can only ignore precedents with s ubstantial reason, conflicting precedence, or changing statutes Litigation Process • Criminal Law • Has jail time involved • Is you v. the legal system • Civil Law • Two people against each other • Mostly about money • Both can include juries • Both can be heard by only a judge • Sometimes a defendant gets to choose between bench v. jury trial (only at a trial court level) • If you think you can convince a jury to your side, you go with jury • If you want the finder of fact to understand the law, you go with a judge What the heck??? (this was really her title of the slide, not a joke) • Petition for Writ of Certiorari • What you file with the Supreme Court to get them to see their case • Briefs • A written statement prepared by lawyers with their case • Includes facts, relevant laws, what they think laws should be considered, how they should be interpreted • Remand • When a higher court sends a case back to a lower court giving them instructions to reconsider • Majority decisions • Aka the controlling decision, US Supreme Court needs 5, FL Supreme Court needs 4 • 9-0 is a unanimous decision • Plurality decisions • Not a majority, but more justices agree on one opinion than the others • Concurring opinions • Agree on the outcome, but for a different reason • Ultimate outcome is the same, but the reasoning is different • Dissenting opinions • The judges/justices that disagree with the majority • Important to look at both sides (especially when you go back to look at a case's precedence) • Why does it matter? • The more unanimous the court is, the clearer the law is, the more people are persuaded about what the right decision is • When the court is divided, it makes everything less clear and doesn't have the same kind of weight or value Criminal Law (terms) • Arrest • Defendant/prosecution • Indictment • Grand Jury • Probable cause • Bail • Arraignment • Plea bargain • Verdicts — guilty v. not guilty o Not guilty: not sufficient evidence o Criminal conviction requires "beyond reasonable doubt" o Civil decision requires "preponderance of the evidence" o Huge difference between the two • Criminal can be life or death • Means there should be a higher burd en to convict them o Supreme Courts do NOT uphold lower courts when they deny a Cert petition; they are just denying to review it Working with Lawyers: When should you call a lawyer? § AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE: • Subpoena or arrest warrant o As a communicator, you can be subpoenaed to reveal your anonymous sources § Illegal action being considered • Ex. Using documents that you aren't sure how they were obtained • Videotaping or recording audio of someone without their knowledge or permission § Retraction demand • If you're doing a publication and someone demands a retraction (wants you to take it back publicly) § Another lawyer calls you • They're looking for someone else's legal interests § Pre-publication review for libel or privacy ---- Thursday: will be beginning to go ov er Chapter 2 Class Four (Chapter 2) — 1/14/16 Finishing Chapter 1: Sample Exam Questions— a. C, law of equity b. True (it is a jurisdictional issue) c. False d. False e. True f. False VIDEO: The Daily Show w. Jon Stewart — Freedom of Expression • Charlie Hebdo attack (Paris) — marches for solidarity for free speech • Into the Words • Freedom of Expression • Another look at trying to balance freedom of expression with ideas that you don't agree with or find offensive VIDEO: Pope Francis on Freedom of Expression • You can't provoke people • You can't insult their faith • But you have an obligation to speak openly THE ONION (article): Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment doesn't apply to annoying man The First Amendment: Protecting the idea of freedom of expression • Goals for learning the First Amendment: o What is it? o What does it protect? o Why is it important? o What are the theories of freedom of expression? o What is the scope of protection under the FA o Who is protected? o How does it work? o What is the scope of restraint ? o Can anything be protected? If so what are the kinds of speech? • The First Amendment o In the U.S. Constitution o First Amendment on the Bill of Rights • Ratified and added to the Constitution in 1791 • Created because the founding fathers were worried that the Constitution gave the government too much power • First Amendment History o Reason: to set limits on government o Ratified in 1791 as the first of 10 amendments o Written by James Madison o Interpreted by courts and judges • Happens when two constitutional rights collide • The court has to decide which one is the most important given the circumstances • Also has to decide how to protect them both if possible • Idea of freedom of the press was argued by a poet in 1694 § "The liberty of unlicensed printing" § Protestant English men should have the freedom of expression § He wanted to write about divorce • Before then, there was no concept of divorce legally § At the time the government had the ability to … all publications • They could publish people who didn't follow the rules § Advocating for change was a serious cri me, called "solicitation of libel" (????) § Xxx was advocating for people to stand up against the government • He was charged with treason, • Hanged, cut down before death, • Emasculated, disemboweled, and then quartered and beheaded • That was the standard for pu nishment for treason § Freedom of the press was made legal in 16xx, but did not continue into the colonies until the 1720s • What does the First Amendment protect? o 5 freedoms • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of First Amendment religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” o First Amendment Protections • Freedom of religion • Freedom of speech § Very important element for the colonies when they were struggling for freedom from England • Freedom of the press § Many governments place limits on the press, controlling it and the messages that go out § Democratic governments protect it, one of the first things that overthrown governments do is seize the press • Freedom of assembly § Allows you to meet for any purpose § They can't interfere with it • Right to petition § Contacting elected officials or legislators § Signing petitions § Protects lobbyists • Have an important role to communicate issues to legislators o Study: More Americans know "The Simpsons" than First Amendment rights • Only 1 in 4 Americans can name more than 1 freedom • Over half of Americans can name 2 or more Simpsons • 22% of people can name all 5 of the Simpsons • Only 1 in 1000 people can name all 5 First Amendment rights • More people could name the judges of American Idol • 2/3 could name freedom of speech • Only 10% could name freedom of the press • People were often confused about the rights protecte d by the First Amendment • People thought the first was the 5th • A lot thought that the right to trial by jury was one • 22% thought the right to own a pet was guaranteed • More than 1/3 believed that it guaranteed women the right to vote • 22% thought it included the right to drive a car VIDEO: College students condemning the right for free speech (Louder with


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