Should You Care about the Court of Public Opinion?
The Court of Public Opinion. Do you know what it is? Is it something you should be worried about if you’re facing criminal charges or involved in a lawsuit? Learn how your actions might put you in the public eye.
We’ll start with a story that has been in the headlines for the last year. The case is actually venued in New York, but involves a former Linden police officer. According to news report, the then policeman started drinking at a local establishment. He even documented the evening on social media.
There were four men in the car when the young man and his friends decided to drive over to a Staten Island bar. When it was time to leave, the officer was behind the wheel. Later, news reports revealed that his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was three times the legal limit. It’s likely that the ex cop’s drunken condition contributed to him going the wrong way on a highway. Two of the vehicle occupants died in the resultant crash. The driver and another passenger were severely injured.
As media outlets reported the incident, the story grew. People began to express their outrage. Charges have been filed against the driver. Although he is awaiting trial, the Court of Public Opinion has already decided his case.
It hasn’t stopped there. A recent news article honed in on the fact that the police officer was just seen at the local bar he visited before the fatal accident. One only has to read the article comments to see how the Court of Public Opinion felt about his appearance. The young man’s attorney defended his right to be there. And, more than likely, it won’t matter to the actual court. In fact, they may never even hear about it.
Stories about the ex-police officer continue to hit the press. Most recently, he used social media to defend his right to be at the local bar. How do we know? We saw it here.
The Court of Public Opinion Brings Attention to Your Case
Litigants cannot control the media, particularly in high profile cases. In this case, the defense counsel defended his client’s right to visit the local bar. Of course, that’s true.
Consider this forewarning about the Court of Public Opinion. Bringing media attention to a case can be problematic for the parties involved. For instance, people are not shy about expressing their opinions. If you claim you’ve been hurt badly and post on social media photographs documenting a ski trip, someone might share them with the insurance company.
Another situation would be if you’re out on bail on a criminal charge, you might feel eyes on you. It’s not necessarily law enforcement watching you. It could be anyone who knows about your case.
Family law matters are always subject to public scrutiny. If you’re trying to secure sole custody of your children, someone may have something to say about your parenting style.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have decades of experience representing clients in select practice areas. We are not suggesting that people stop living their lives because they are involved in a court case. We are merely advocating for common sense. Contact us if you need assistance.