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Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co.
United States Supreme Court
443 U.S. 97 (1979)
On February 9, 1978, eyewitnesses identified a 14-year-old as the person who shot and killed a 15-year-old student at a high school. Two newspapers, the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette (defendants), sent reporters and photographers to the scene of the shooting. Both newspapers and three radio stations subsequently published the minor’s name in articles and broadcasts about the shooting. A grand jury later criminally indicted both newspapers for violating a West Virginia statute forbidding the publication of a juvenile defendant’s name without the approval of juvenile court. The newspapers filed a writ of prohibition, alleging the statute violated the First Amendment. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued the writ of prohibition and held that the statute operated as a prior restraint on speech. The state (plaintiff) appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)
Concurrence (Rehnquist, J.)
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