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Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Covering America's Courts: A Clash of Rights

Covering America's Courts: A Clash of Rights

by Toni LocyToni Locy
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America is a nation obsessed with crime and the law. We are devoted viewers of Law and Order and CSI. When we slip and fall in the grocery store, we sue. When we cannot agree on what society should value, we turn to the courts to solve our moral conundrums. The law has permeated American life so thoroughly that knowledge of the courts and legal principles is essential for all reporters, whether they want to cover sports, business, entertainment, or politics.
With a specific, thorough, and practical approach, this text is an engaging and accessible introduction to the American court system, its players, language, and impact on the public. Written by a veteran court reporter, the book provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge for covering this beat, including:
• How to cover the courts and the law accurately, fairly, and with healthy skepticism;
• How to find stories in the courts and how to read legal documents and make sense of them;
• A discussion of the advances in technology that are changing the way stories are reported and delivered, as well as how to access electronic information maintained by the courts;
• Concrete examples, provided throughout the text, of what it is like to cover courts.
A valuable resource, Covering America’s Courts provides students, bloggers, and citizen journalists with the foundation they need to walk into a courthouse anywhere in the country and report fairly, clearly, and ethically about criminal and civil cases.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433114496
Publisher: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publication date: 02/25/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Toni Locy is the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting at Washington and Lee University. She is uniquely qualified to write this text, having spent 25 years as a journalist covering courts for some of the nation’s biggest and best news organizations, including the Washington Post, Boston Globe, USA Today, and the Associated Press. During this time, she covered the 9/11 attacks, was one of three reporters to break the first published story about the independent counsel’s investigation into President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for a four-part series that she reported and wrote about the Boston Police Department’s inability to solve serious crimes.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

Part I Breaking the Law and News

Chapter 1 Covering Courts in a High-Tech, Celebrity-Obsessed World 3

Chapter 2 Cops, Lawyers, Judges and Reporters: Who Does What and Why? 17

Chapter 3 A Crime Occurs: Help! Police! 31

Part II Chasing Paper and People

Chapter 4 The Paper Chase: Finding, Reading and Making Sense of Court Records 51

Chapter 5 State Justice: From Birth to Death 71

Chapter 6 From Janitors to Judges: Developing and Protecting Sources 83

Part III Pressing the Bench

Chapter 7 Let s Make a Deal, or Not: Plea Bargains and Trials 101

Chapter 8 The Grand Finale: Deliberations, the Verdict and Sentencing 115

Chapter 9 Show Me the Money: Civil Lawsuits, Settlements and Damages 127

Part IV Balancing the Checks

Chapter 10 Secrecy in the Courts: Gagged Lawyers, Anonymous Juries and Locked Courtrooms 141

Chapter 11 The Challenge of Terrorism: Civilian or Military Justice? 153

Chapter 12 The Last Word: The U.S. Supreme Court 165

Glossary 177

Bibliography 189

Index 197

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