MCO 4301 Case study analysis

Nicholas Acosta

5/4/17 This case study has three major parts that encompass the issues of this scenario. The first part is the accusation phase of this case, where Katy accuses Zany of kidnapping Kimmy. The second part involves Big Town News reporter Bill Muster and his handling of reporting on the case. The final part is the aftermath of the case and the event that took place because of the case. These three events showcase various legal issues that not only involve criminal cases, but civil cases too.

The first part of this case deals with the presumption of innocence that was establish by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Coffin v. United States. F.A. Coffin and others were accused of aiding and abetting a former president of a bank. Their ruling was that “every man is presumed to be innocent until his guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” (Coffin v. United States 156 U.S. 432 1895). The police never considered other possible suspects other than Katy. They went into the investigation with a bias and though Katy might have really been the culprit, this could hurt the case’s credibility. This could even be used in a future appeal with the claim of an unfair trial was given.

The second part involves reporter Bill Muster of Big Town News and his reporting on this case. In the beginning, Bill simply writes the case from Katy’s side of the story and although that is bad reporting it’s not a crime. The problem comes from Bills invasion of Zany Smith’s privacy, by taking photos of her without her permission. In Katz v. United States where the Supreme Court ruled that Charles Katz’s privacy in a phone booth was not invaded upon by FBI agent due to their lack of physical intrusion of the phone booth, (Katz v. United States 389 U.S. 347 1967). This is different however due to Smith not being a public figure or as was mentioned earlier not being charged with a crime. These pictures published by Big Town News will most likely be used in a later lawsuit against the newspaper and Bill himself. Bill has other problems heading his way as well with the ride along with police officers to Katy’s apartment. In Wilson v. Layne established that individuals of the media not specifically named in a search warrant are in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court held in that case, a “media ride-along in a home violates the Fourth Amendment, but because the state of the law was not clearly established at the time the entry in this case took place, respondent officers are entitled to qualified immunity,” (Wilson v. Layne 526 U.S. 603 1999). This will not only open new lawsuit by the family, but also could potential be used to appeal a court’s verdict.

The final part of Bill’s future troubles is indirect accusation of Joe, Katy’s father, of molesting Kimmy and possibly killing her with his story over the trial. This is libel since it is defamatory and published, this could also be used in future lawsuits against both the newspaper and Bill himself.

The final part of this case is the aftermath of the trial where Katy sells her story to Big Town News. Katy may be in violation of the Son of Sam law; the Son of Sam law was created by state legislature to prevent criminals from benefiting from their crimes. It originates from the trial of serial killer David Berkowitz “Son of Sam” who was suspected of trying to sell stories of his crimes for money, (Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of N. Y. State Crime Victims Bd. 502 U.S. 105 1991). There are different versions of this law that only pertain to those convicted of crimes, but harsher version forbids any financial benefits from crimes. Depending on the state Katy may face future litigation. Also, the story that Big Town News buys has potential libel against Joe since it accuses him of child abuse.

This case has several possible future lawsuits due to negligent reporting and unaware individuals. Katy though was cleared of charges, but tries to benefit from the case and police action make the possibility of future charges in this case impossible.  Big Town News and Bill Muster could also face lawsuit due to Bill’s ride along possibly violating others Fourth Amendment rights and serval examples of possible libel from Bill. The newspaper also published serval examples of libel that not only will hurt them financially, but also hurt their reputation. Katy may be truly guilty of the crime, but unlawful handling of a case only hinders our justice system.










Coffin v. United States 156 U.S. 432 (1895). (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2017, from

Katz v. United States 389 U.S. 347 (1967). (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2017, from

Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of N. Y. State Crime Victims Bd. 502 U.S. 105 (1991). (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2017, from

Wilson v. Layne 526 U.S. 603 (1999). (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2017, from


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