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Sixth Amendment: Fair Trial v. Free Speech

Free speech and fair trial issues come to the Supreme Court in many ways. This activity explores Carey v. Musladin, 549 U.S. 70, 127 S. Ct. 649 (2006) and asks students to separate emotions from reason when they decide the following question: Is a defendant, who is facing murder charges, deprived of the right to a fair trial when spectators in the courtroom wear buttons that display pictures of the deceased?

About these Resources

How to Use these Resources

This activity is a modified Oxford style debate.

  1. To get started, have participants read the Carey v. Musladin facts and case summary.
  2. Assign student attorneys to the issues listed in the talking points. They are suggested points– not a script–for the debate. Student attorneys are encouraged to add their own arguments.
  3. All other students are jurors who deliberate (and may refer to these talking points) during the open floor debate. They debate among themselves in the large group or smaller groups and come to a verdict after the attorneys present closing arguments.