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55 Federal Communications Law Journal 131 (2002)


One issue that is often overlooked in the capital punishment debate is the policy to shield the public from the specifics of the application, administration, and resolution of the death sentence. First, this Note provides a brief historical and analytical account of capital punishment in this country, and ultimately argues that this historical backdrop forces courts to characterize regulations as content-based distinctions on free speech. Second, this Note provides a background of the methods of capital punishment from the time of the country's founding through the early parts of the twentieth century. Furthermore, this Note will address the emergence of private execution laws and argue that these laws arose in direct response to anti-death penalty movements throughout the nineteenth century. This Note then provides an analysis of the Supreme Court's freedom of the press jurisprudence, focusing on the "right of access" to government proceedings. Additionally, this Note addresses the most recent manifestation of this movement: attempts to broadcast executions to the general public. In conclusion, this Note will argue that these challenges have ultimately failed because of their characterization as "access" cases.