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The Sheppard Trials have played a significant role in American legal history. The 1954 conviction for the homicide of Dr. Samual Sheppard's wife, Marilyn, was determined as an unfair trial by the United States Supreme Court due to medial exposure and publicity. This case helped to characterize media coverage protection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Dever cross examined attorney F. Lee Bailey
during the trial of Davis vs. The State of Ohio.
Sheppard shared his story with authorities, however Cleveland newspapers, alleged that Sheppard was conspiring. Media exposure increased throughout the 9-week trial. The prosecution introduced proof of bloodstains found in the house as well as Sam Sheppard's affair with his colleague, Susan Hayes, as a motive for the homicide. On December 21st 1954 Sheppard was sentenced with second degree murder and life in prison.
Ten years later, Sheppard hired a new lawyer for his case, F. Lee Bailey, as Chief Counsel. In 1964, Bailey was granted an appeal for a writ of habeas corpus, or unlawful inprisionment, by a United States area court judge. It was determined that Sheppard did not receive the right to a fair trail. However, this was overturned on appeal and went to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court determined that Sheppard was not protected from the biased media exposure during the first trial. The State of Ohio retried Sheppard in 1966 and he was found not guilty.
Although Sheppard died in 1970, his son, Samuel Reese Sheppard, and Alan Davis, the administrator of Sheppard's estate, sued the State for the wrongful inprisionment of his father.
Steve Dever acted as the prosecutor for this case.
Marilyn Reese Sheppard was murdered in her Bay Village, Ohio home on July 4th 1954. Dr. Samual Sheppard claimed that he was asleep downstairs when he heard his wife screaming, when he ran upstairs he saw an intruder and was knocked unconscious. He then woke-up and chased a "bushy haired man" down to the beach where Sheppard was again knocked unconscious.
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