The Court of Public Opinion

During spring break in 2006, members of the Duke lacrosse team hired two exotic dancers to perform at an off-campus party. In the hours following the party, one of the dancers alleged that she had been raped and so began what is now known as the "Duke lacrosse case." The Court of Public Opinion Conference, convened in the fall of 2007, used the Duke lacrosse case as merely a starting point and example of an all-too-frequent occurrence: private cases being catapulted into the media spotlight.

This conference sought to explore the proper balance between the rights of the individual and the public, and appropriate conduct by members of the bench, bar, and media in response to intense public interest in a case. Experts with wide-ranging experience in a host of high-profile cases presented and discussed in a number of panels and presentations with the goal of providing a better understanding of what has happened in past cases and what concepts and ideas should guide future development of policies, structures, and practices that will safeguard the private and public interests at stake.

 

Topics covered in the Fall 2007 conference

The Role & Responsibility of Traditional Media
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Panelists: Sylvia Adcock, Loren Ghiglione, Eric Lieberman, Malcolm Moran, William Raspberry, Ari Shapiro.

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The Role & Responsibility of New Media
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Panelists: Marcy Wheeler, KC Johnson, Kinsey Wilson.

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A "Fred Friendly" Roundtable
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Panelists: Peter Gilchrist, Ellen Reckhow, Beatrice Myers, Ron Wellman, David Levi, Margaret Jablonski, Kerstin Kimel, Sonja Steptoe, Elliott Wolf, Larry McMichael.

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The Role & Responsibility of Defense Counsel
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Panelists: Laurie L. Levenson, Michael E. Tigar, Harold A. Haddon.

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The Role & Responsibility of Prosecutors
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Panelists: R. Michael Cassidy, Colm F. Connolly, Marsha Goodenow, Loretta E. Lynch.

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Comparative Law Approaches to Media Access to Court Proceedings
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Panelists: Lucy Dalglish, Peter M. Jacobsen, Gavin Phillipson, Giorgio Resta.

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Institutional Response to Crisis
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Panelists: Judith Clair, Ron Dufresne, Richard S. Levick, Craig A. Masback.

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A Conversation: Living Through Lacrosse
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Panelists: John Burness, James Coleman, Latisha Faulks, Paul Haagen, Sergio Quintana, Emily Rotberg.

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The Role & Responsibility of the Public
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Panelists: Kim Gross, Scott Bullock, Steve Shapiro.

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The Role & Responsibility of the Court
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Panelists: Gary Hengstler, Lee Millette, Terry Ruckriegle, Reggie Walton, David Sellers.

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