Estes v. Texas (1965)

In this case the Supreme Court overturned the swindling conviction of the petitioner. "The court held that the 14th Amendment due process rights of financier Billy Sol Estes had been violated primarily because of the publicity associated with the pretrial hearing, which had been carried live on both television and radio (Moore, p. 451)." News photography was permitted throughout the trial and parts of it were broadcast as well. There was no doubt that the Court was unhappy with the intensive pretrial and trial coverage, but its biggest concern was the presence of cameras at the two-day long pretrial hearing. It included at least 12 still and television photographers,Supreme Court three microphones on the judge's bench, and several aimed at the jury's box and attorney's table. When it was time for the trial to be held, it was moved about 500 miles away and the judge had imposed rather severe restrictions on press coverage. However, the judges did make the notion that cameras would return to courtrooms eventually:

"It is said that the ever-advancing techniques of public communication and the adjustment of the public to its presence may bring about a change in the effect of telecasting upon the fairness of criminal trials. But we are not dealing here with future developments in the field of electronics. Our judgment cannot be rested on the hypothesis of tomorrow but must take the facts as they are presented today."

Indeed the facts did change with technology. Sixteen years later the Supreme Court ruled in "Chandler v. Florida" that a state could allow the broadcast and still photography coverage of criminal trials.

Click here for the complete Supreme Court opinion.