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Other titles in the Plains Histories series:

Rights in the Balance: Free Press, Fair Trial, and Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (Plains Histories)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Rights in the Balance is the story of the complex legal battles set in motion in 1975 on the western Nebraska plains. In juxtaposition to the criminal prosecution of murder suspect Erwin Simants, Mark Scherer traces the Nebraska Press Association's battle to overturn a gag order imposed on the media by state court judges. Prohibited from publishing certain details about the crimes and the Simants prosecution, the association set its own arduous legal course that would lead ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court and the landmark ruling issued in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart. The decision, one of the most closely followed in American constitutional history, remains one of the high court's most significant statements and controlling precedents on the troublesome and recurring conflict between the rights of free press and fair trial.

Book News Annotation:

On October 19, 1975, a family of six were shot and killed in their home in the town of Sutherland, Nebraska. Scherer (history, U. of Nebraska at Omaha) describes the legal cases that resulted out of that murderous crime. One narrative thread concerns the two trials of Erwin Charles Simants for the murder, the first of which found him guilty and resulted in a sentence of death, and the second, ordered by the Nebraska Supreme Court, which resulted in a verdict of innocent by reason of insanity. The other narrative thread, arguably more important for the country's history as a whole, concerns the legal issues that arose out of attempts by authorities to limit media reporting on the first criminal trial of Simants out of fears of prejudicing the jury pool, issues that were eventually decided by the Supreme Court Case Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart. Scherer seeks in this work to balance discussion of the legal issues and cases with observation of the personal experiences of those involved in the various cases. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

On a horrific night in October 1975, Erwin Simants brutally murdered six members of the Henry Kellie family in tiny Sutherland, Nebraska. Massive media attention to the grisly story soon spawned a historic collision between two of the most cherished American constitutional protections—the First Amendments guarantee of a free press and the Sixth Amendments guarantee of a criminal defendants right to a fair trial before an impartial jury. Rights in the Balance is the story of the complex legal battles set in motion that tragic night on the western Nebraska plains. In juxtaposition to the criminal prosecution of Erwin Simants, Mark Scherer traces the Nebraska Press Associations battle to overturn a gag order imposed on the media by state court judges. Prohibited from publishing certain details about the crimes and the Simants prosecution, the association set its own arduous legal course that would lead ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court and the landmark ruling issued in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart. The decision, one of the most closely followed in American constitutional history, remains one of the high courts most significant statements and controlling precedents on the troublesome and recurring conflict between the rights of free press and fair trial. Balancing the nuances of myriad legal considerations against the very human dimensions of both the constitutional litigations and the Simants prosecution, Scherer offers up a narrative accessible not only to communications and legal specialists and scholars but also the interested general public.

Synopsis:

Traces the Nebraska Press Association's battle to overturn a gag order imposed on the media by state court judges in the historic 1970s trial of Erwin Simants

About the Author

Mark R. Scherer is associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska—Omaha. A former practicing attorney, Scherer has argued cases in the supreme courts of Nebraska and Ohio as well as in many federal district and circuit courts. He is also the author of Imperfect Victories: The Legal Tenacity of the Omaha Tribe, 1945–1995.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780896726260
Author:
Scherer, Mark R.
Publisher:
Texas Tech University Press
Foreword by:
Hewitt, James W.
Foreword:
Hewitt, James W.
Author:
Hewitt, James W.
Subject:
Trials (Murder)
Subject:
Freedom of the press
Subject:
Constitutional - First Amendment
Subject:
Legal History
Subject:
Conflict of Laws
Subject:
Freedom of the press -- United States.
Subject:
Free press and fair trial -- United States.
Subject:
Law | Constitutional Law
Subject:
Media & the Law
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Plains Histories
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.16x6.30x.96 in. 1.27 lbs.

Related Subjects

Children's » General
History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference

Rights in the Balance: Free Press, Fair Trial, and Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (Plains Histories) New Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Texas Tech University Press - English 9780896726260 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
On a horrific night in October 1975, Erwin Simants brutally murdered six members of the Henry Kellie family in tiny Sutherland, Nebraska. Massive media attention to the grisly story soon spawned a historic collision between two of the most cherished American constitutional protections—the First Amendments guarantee of a free press and the Sixth Amendments guarantee of a criminal defendants right to a fair trial before an impartial jury. Rights in the Balance is the story of the complex legal battles set in motion that tragic night on the western Nebraska plains. In juxtaposition to the criminal prosecution of Erwin Simants, Mark Scherer traces the Nebraska Press Associations battle to overturn a gag order imposed on the media by state court judges. Prohibited from publishing certain details about the crimes and the Simants prosecution, the association set its own arduous legal course that would lead ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court and the landmark ruling issued in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart. The decision, one of the most closely followed in American constitutional history, remains one of the high courts most significant statements and controlling precedents on the troublesome and recurring conflict between the rights of free press and fair trial. Balancing the nuances of myriad legal considerations against the very human dimensions of both the constitutional litigations and the Simants prosecution, Scherer offers up a narrative accessible not only to communications and legal specialists and scholars but also the interested general public.
"Synopsis" by , Traces the Nebraska Press Association's battle to overturn a gag order imposed on the media by state court judges in the historic 1970s trial of Erwin Simants
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