In this page, Wikipedia says that in the Michael Jackson 2005 trial (People v. Jackson) the judge:

put a gag order on both sides

Erwin Chemerinsky says (link, at the time of 1:53:37) that gag orders are unconstitutional.

Which way is which?

Was the injunction the judge released in the Michael Jackson trial unconstitutional? If so, why nobody challenged it?

  • I don't have the time at the moment to look at the Erwin Chemerinsky link, but Gag orders for a trial are not unusual for celebrity trials, nor as far as I can tell are they controversial (so long as they only last the duration of the trial). The purpose of the gag order is to try to avoid tainting the jury pool or influencing the jury outside of court.
    – sharur
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


The two statements are not contradictory.

A court may impose a gag order on the parties to legal proceedings, as in the Michael Jackson trial, but it may not impose a gag order on the press that is covering the proceedings, which is what Chemerinsky is discussing.

  • The gag order would also generally be narrowly tailored to particular kinds of information about a trial, and would generally be for a limited period of time not longer than the completion of the jury portion of the trial.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 1:54

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