Balancing Free Speech and Fair Trial: Carey v. Musladin

Lesson Duration

Author:  Office of the U.S. Courts РEducational Resources

Victims’ free expression rights versus¬†defendants’ rights to an impartial jury

Free speech and fair trial issues come to the Supreme Court in many ways. The case of Carey v. Musladin asks students to separate emotions from reason when they decide the following question: If the friends and family of a murder victim sit in the trial of the alleged murderer wearing buttons printed with a picture of the deceased, does that prejudice the jury and risk depriving the defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury?  Lesson include materials for holding a discussion or debate regarding the case.


  • Students will understand the case of Carey v. Musladin.
  • Students will understand the 6th Amendment right to an impartial jury.
  • Students will apply the facts of the case to the law regarding impartial juries.



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