When you see a lawyer like Joe Tacopina on television, being interviewed by the media, you may find yourself wondering why they are choosing to interview him and exactly what his job is in a situation like this. Are they just trying to get information to the public? Is he just trying to keep the media up to date on the court case? For any lawyer in this position, the truth is that lawyers are usually involved in PR work as often as anything else. They have to talk to the medial, and they have to keep their clients’ images in mind while they do this.
The Media Creates Cases
Have you ever watched media coverage of a large court case? If so, you know how they cover it. Part of it is finding out the facts and presenting them. If something is brought forth as evidence during the case, they are going to tell people about it so that they can decide if the defendant is guilty or not. They are also going to tell the public about what plea the person decided to enter, when the next court appearance is and what charges the victim is seeking in the case.
However, it is not all about giving the public the facts. The media also does a fair amount to create the cases – or, at least, the public perception of the cases. They can paint things to look almost any way that they want. If they want people to think that the accused person is guilty, it is not hard for them to only present evidence that supports this idea. If they want people to think that the accused is innocent, they can show pictures and statements that make them seem kind and likable, which the public usually takes to mean that they are innocent.
Keeping the Jury Separated
This is a big part of the reason why the jury is kept separate from the media. They are not allowed to talk about the case with anyone until it is over. They are not allowed to look at evidence on their own, but only at the evidence that they are given in court. The judge needs to make sure that the jury is not swayed by media coverage or the opinions of other people who have been influenced.
The Lawyer’s Job
Because of the way that this works, it is the lawyer’s job to make sure that the person he or she is defending actually gets a fair trial in the court of public opinion. The lawyer is basically working as a PR consultant to ensure that the people see both sides. They need to know the truth. The lawyer will look at the way that the media is creating the case and then address people in a fashion that sheds light on both sides of the story.
Of course, the court of public opinion does not matter in a realistic sense. The whole world could think that a person is guilty, but if the jury – who studied the real evidence and was not influenced by the media – thinks that he is innocent, then that is the way that the ruling goes. However, public opinion is very important for the person’s life after the court case.