LU Law Professor Explains Gag Orders
Lynchburg, VA - Joseph Martins is an assistant professor at the Liberty University School of Law.
First amendment issues are Martins' specialty.
Martins says gag orders are presumed by the court to violate the first amendment unless such an order is deemed necessary to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial.
Martins says if a gag order were to include family members, or the media, that would step all over the first amendment.
Martins says judges are typically careful to narrowly tailor a gag order to just the participants in a trial.
"Really the court has authority and can control the people who are in the courtroom. The District Attorney. The defense lawyer. The witnesses and the parties. Outside of that, the court's hands are not only tied, by the first amendment, but also by the practicalities of social media," said Martins.
The case of course has been all over social media from the very beginning.
Alexis herself has thousands of Twitter followers.
Friends, family, and strangers from all over have been sharing and re-sharing information in this case. Not all of the information has been correct.