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All You Need to Know About Gag Order

Gag Order

What is a Gag Order?

A gag order, also known as a suppression order, is a formal directive which disallows individuals from discussing something publicly. Gag orders are typically used in a legal context when a judge wants to keep a trial as fair as possible by impeding the public from discussing intricacies associated with the active trial or case.

The gag order, in this context, is issued by the judge to avoid jurors and witnesses from being influenced by the public’s opinion.

In addition to a judge or a legal context, a gag order can be issued by private organizations, various institutions, or companies. A gag order will be issued by such institutions to control the flow of information that is directly aligned with a product, an employee within the particular business model, or the general actions of the entity.

Gag Order in a Legal Trial

In the case of a legal trial, a gag order is always issued by a judge. A gag order, when issued by a judge, may ban people involved in a case, such as witnesses, lawyers and jurors from discussing the intricacies associated with the case in a public forum. In addition, a gag order instituted in a legal setting may ban the media from reporting information associated with the case.

A gag order is typically utilized by a judge if he or she is fearful that a case is sensational or outlandish that it will be difficult for the defendant to receive a fair trial. Public discussions and the delivery of information can, in many cases, sway the outcome of a legal case, especially if a trial garners a great deal of public attention. When this occurs, a conflict is inherently spawned that directly impedes the defendant from receiving a fair trial. Such a conflict compromises the judicial values which state that evidence should be evaluated and considered impartially.

Penalties associated with a Gag Order

If an individual under a gag order violates the restrictions imposed by the order, they can be subject to legal penalties such as fines or imprisonment. A gag order can be enforced through the delivery of numerous techniques, such as jury sequestering, where members of the jury are kept in private and secure locations for the duration of the trial. This specific enforcement technique impedes the individual from influencing outside citizens.

Gag Orders issued by Private Institutions

When a gag order is issued by a private organization, the issuing entity cannot compel the media to cease reporting information unless the organization can demonstrate, in a legal forum, that the media’s reporting is harmful to the underlying issue.

A gag order, when issued by a private organization, can obligate employees and associated representatives to obey the intricacies associated with the gag order as part of the terms of employment. A common example of this gag order is present when people sign nondisclosure agreements before working on the development of a secret or confidential project.

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