Monday, February 9, 2015

Justice and American Sniper

Chris Kyle, a successful sniper for the Navy SEALs, was murdered at a shooting range in 2013 while he was trying to help a fellow veteran cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. Eddie Ray Routh is being charged for the murder of Kyle and another friend who was with them that day. This NY Times article explains that Routh has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys are claiming insanity.

The movie American Sniper, about the life of Chris Kyle and his role in the Iraq war, has received a lot of attention from the media. He is well known in Texas for his military contributions and his popularity has grown significantly around the world with the release of the movie. For this reason, it will be extremely hard to compile a jury of citizens who have not already been exposed to a great deal of pretrial publicity against Routh. Some argue, however, that the prior knowledge of story (or simply seeing the movie) will not influence a juror's ability to interpret and rule based on the evidence of the case. Relocating the trial would also do little to avoid bias because of the movie's far-reaching press attention across the country.

This case has raised an important question of how the media can influence the justice system. Does the media attention surrounding Chris Kyle's case inhibit Routh's right to a fair trial?

Here's an article from the Dallas Morning News, the setting of the murder and the trial.
Here's some more background about the case also from the NY Times.

No comments:

Post a Comment