Celebrity scandals have always been one of the hottest topics in American culture. Take the most recent case involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, the case made a lot of headlines, and everyone was talking about it.
Another thing apart from the publicity that makes these cases unique is the different scenarios in the courtroom when celebrities are there as victims or defendants.
This post will tell you everything about what happens in the courtroom during a high-profile case and how these cases differ from non-celebrity or common person cases. We’ll even talk about the most significant celebrity lawsuits to provide you with all the essential information you need.
What Happens in the Courtroom During a Celebrity Case?
The idea of entitling all the defendants to the same treatment irrespective of their celebrity status is still the idea of the American court system. In theory, the criminal justice system ensures to provide the defendants, including celebs and famous personalities, a fair and unbiased trial, biases still do happen (not in every case).
This could be due to a biased judges’ and jurors’ decisions, which may disrupt the case’s outcome. The celebrity factor still plays a crucial role in the case decision. However, their status can either have a negative or a positive effect on the outcome.
During the trial of a celebrity case, the courtroom looks different from what it looks on a regular day. One of the biggest reasons why the conviction takes a lot of time in these cases is because of the rehearsals.
Rehearsals aren’t just limited to the big screens, they take place in the courtroom as well when a big personality, say an athlete or an artist, is accused. Multiple rehearsals take place depending on the type of case and what the witness has to say, and there are numerous factors to be considered.
As per former prosecutor Roberta Flowers, “rehearsals in the courtroom are the best method to prevent contradictions among witnesses by assuring each member knows what the other witnesses remember.” This method, of course, has some ethical pitfalls, but it’s a common practice in the courtroom for creating a chronology around which the attorney will build their trial “story.”
Everyone, including the celebrity and people associated with them who are named in the case, is present during the rehearsals with their attorneys.
Another thing that makes the courtroom look different is how the celebrities dress. Sometimes they prefer a suit, and sometimes they prefer not to wear any designer dresses or jewelry to relate more with the public.
What’s the Difference Between Celebrity and Non-celebrity Cases?
Even when the law claims that celebrities are treated in the same way as any other victim or defendant, there are some notable differences between high-profile and day-to-day cases.
Below we have explained some common differences between the two and what potential effects these differences can have on the outcome. We’ll even throw some light on why these differences exist.
These Cases May be Televised
Millions of people watched the hearing of the Depp-Heard case and saw the chief judge of Fairfax County (Va.) Circuit Court, Penney Azcarate, as she presided over the defamation trial between the two popular celebs.
During celeb cases, cameras could be there in the courtroom for a variety of reasons, such as to record the witnesses in order to avoid any contradiction.
As per Penney Azcarate, “she received a lot of media coverage requests regarding this case and had the duty to keep the hearings open to the observers. She also worried that not allowing the media to cover the court proceeding may create a potentially dangerous condition there”.
Also, allowing a crowd to watch the proceeding can result in chaos, and to prevent this, such cases involving high-profile celebrities are televised.
You might wonder if it is legal to have cameras and media in the courtroom. In many states in the U.S., the trial judge has almost total discretion over whether to allow cameras in the court or not.
Security Personnel All Around the Court Premises
Typically, courts have tight security, but in the event of a celebrity case, the security is even tighter. Since these cases are covered by the media, the fans are also there outside the court, waiting to see their favorite celebs.
Security helps the celebs and the witnesses get in and out safely, which does not happen during non-celebrity cases. However, non-celebrity cases involve big criminals, and if there are some threats to the witnesses, then the court might order the same security protection.
Longer Trial Hearings
Compared to a non-celebrity client case, the trial hearings on celebrity cases take more time. This could be due to the rehearsals or packed schedule of the accused or the victim, which might cause some delays.
Sometimes biases also play a role and result in longer trial hearings in the courtroom.
The Celebs May Eat During a Trial
During the trial of the Depp-Heard case, Johnny was seen eating gummy bears candy along with his attorney Benjamin Chew.
Although the law prohibits anyone, be it a celebrity or someone else, from eating anything in the court, there was no action taken against Johnny Depp, his celebrity status might be the reason behind it.
This is one of the biggest differences between celebrity and non-celebrity cases.
The Attorneys Select the Jury
Every case should be free from any kind of bias, and the final decision should be based on what’s true! However, the celebrity factory of someone can play a significant role during the hearing, so the lawyers can select a jury they think can rule an unbiased decision.
This happens mostly in the case of celebrity cases and is another factor that sets celeb cases apart from non-celeb cases.
It is always better to hire an excellent lawyer who understands your rights and knows how to defend you at all times. From gathering evidence to witness testimonies, and preparing for the entire process, our team of legal experts will help you fight for justice and win. Contact us now!
How Does the Court Go About the Jury Selection during a High Profile Court Case?
Some believe that the celebrity status of a victim can help them with a lighter sentence considering the crime they are accused of. It may seem like a myth, but there may be some truth to it, and that’s why the process of jury selection is there for such cases.
Any member of the jury who admires the accused celeb may find it difficult to digest that their favorite star has committed a heinous crime. This disbelief can impact the outcome of the case, and there may be a biased outcome framed for the victim who has used his money and popularity.
In order to avoid someone’s celebrity status from affecting the case, the attorneys of the victim select the jury using a strict approach that we have discussed below.
Jury Selection in Celebrity Cases
When selecting the jurors, the lawyers need to ensure that the jurors selected are not influenced by the celebrities involved in the case.
One way of ensuring this is selecting the jurors randomly. Randomness means that no bias should affect the jury selection.
Another important aspect of choosing the jury is picking people who do not follow the news too closely because these people will be best able to remain impartial.
For example, the members of the jury must be unaware of any crimes carried out by the celebrity being tried. If they read about the crime, it would certainly influence their judgment on the defendant.
In essence, the selection process of the jury is essential, and the methodical procedures should be followed in order to make sure the appeals are successful.
During this phase, the jurors may not always be expressive about their feelings towards the celebrity. They may also say that they’ll be unbiased, but the truth can be different sometimes.
In order to ensure the jurors are unbiased, the attorneys pay close attention not only to the jurors but to their body language, such as vocal responses. For example, if talking about a celebrity, any member of the jury folds their arms, which might indicate defensiveness, which could mean that the juror does not like the celebrity.
Similarly, there are some traits that may prove that the jurors like the celebrity, and it can affect the outcome. Attorneys also observe whether the jurors seem to “preen” in the presence of the celebs or if they are fussing about how they look.
Any potential jurors who want to look good in the presence of a celebrity may indicate that they might favor the celebrity.
Prospective jurors that do not react physically or verbally when discussing the case or in the presence of a celebrity are most likely to make it to the jury.
Jurors, when speaking to the media, may accidentally reveal that they are in favor or against the celeb through actions such as praising the accused.
In order to fend this off, the judge may also consider entering a “gag order,” meaning the court staff may instruct the prospective jurors not to seek out any media and avoid talking to any media person, especially when they are being recorded.
The U.S. Supreme Court has said that gag orders may be an appropriate way to control pretrial and voir dire publicity.
What are Some Common Themes in the Courtroom During a Celebrity Case?
The fashion sense of the celebrities may follow them to the courtroom, and you can see some of them wearing fancy clothes while appearing for the trial. The theme of the courtroom is different during high profile cases, especially if the case is being televised.
A Team of Stylists Decides What to Wear
Yes, a team of stylists accompanies the celebrities, whether they are the victim or defendants. As per Shawn Holley, “deciding what to wear to the courtroom depends on who the celebrity is. It also helps the celebrity maintain their reputation beyond the case”.
The team behind a stylish celebrity for the courtroom can also include celebrity attorneys and courtroom consultants to ensure that their attire adheres to the rules of the court.
Mr. Rogers Effect Still Comes into Play
The president of Bloom Strategic Consulting, Jay Bloom, says that clothing apparel such as sweaters can soften up a person in an environment where they are being portrayed as hostile or mean”.
The theme of the courtroom can be soft and cozy, especially when celebrities are accused of violent crimes.
The Colors Play a Crucial Role
During the celebrity hearing, the theme of the courtroom may have more blues and whites. The reason behind the color selection is that white and blue are the colors of purity and honesty and may help reflect it in the celebrity.
Colors such as red and black are often missing from the courtrooms’ theme because experts say these colors do not attract positive effects.
Dressing Lavishly Can Have Negative Consequences
Many people think that when celebrities attend the court trial, they dress lavishly and look their best, as they do during any red-carpet event. However, that’s not how things play out in the courtroom. Due to the stereotypical thinking that the rich and lavish theme of a celebrity in the court may create a cheating, stealing, or lying image, celebs tend to dress down and dress neutrally to avoid such prejudice.
The Role of Attorneys in Celebrity Cases
The attorneys also play a crucial role in a celebrity case, and they have more roles and responsibilities than they do in a non-celeb case. Here’re some roles of an attorney in such cases and why you should hire a reliable attorney to represent you in court.
They Understand the Complexities
Celebrity cases are far more complex than non-celebrity cases. A good attorney determines and understands these complexities and ensures the client is able to present the facts that may help the case.
They Take Care of the Media Speculations
In most celebrity cases, the most significant risk of exposure for clients is the news media. Media can easily spread rumors which can convolute public opinion as well as the trial. The lawyers make sure that their clients prevent getting into anything which the media can use to portray their bad image.
For example, the attorneys ensure their clients wear proper apparel when attending the court trial.
They Play an Important Role in Jury Selection
As we discussed earlier, the image and personality of a celebrity can have an impact on the trial’s outcome. The attorneys who are representing the victim help ensure that the prospective jurors are unbiased.
Levine And Blit: Your Best Celebrity Lawyer in New York and Across the US
Representing celebrity clients means not only fighting for their rights but also protecting their ability to perform in the public eye. At Levine and Blit, our law firm approaches every legal case with a dependable work ethic. We offer high-quality services while keeping your privacy at the top of mind.
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Our goal is achieving positive results for both parties involved in order to bring peace back to their lives. If you are looking for a reputable celebrity lawyer NYC, contact us today.
Call us at 212-967-3000 for detailed case consultation and speak to one of our best celebrity lawyers.