For most high profile trials, the interest in the case will be coming from more than one of the groups identified below. It is worth considering where the interest is coming from as the level of compliance with law and litigant and public compliance with court procedure will vary based on the nature of the case. Additionally, the risk that there will be attempts to influence witnesses or jurors will vary by group affiliation which may require extra planning. Last, there can be the potential for inter-group conflict and this may also need to be addressed in the planning stages.
Of all the groups that may appear for a high-profile trial, the media are the most likely to comply with the law and rules established by the court. They are also the least likely to attempt to influence a juror. However, that being said they work within a highly competitive environment so some transgressions may occur.
Members of the public that appear at a high-profile case as individuals may have a variety of motives for being there. It may be as simple as wanting to get a glimpse of a celebrity as they enter the courthouse. Or, the may be outraged over what they believe to be the conduct of one of the parties. However, in either case the public can be difficult to manage as they are not as apt to be obedient to instructions provided by security and may be willing to be arrested. Additionally, it will be difficult to predict how many members of the general public may appear on a given day and they may show up much earlier than expected. These issues should be discussed in the planning phases.
Not all special interest groups are the same. Some special interest groups have a track record of appearing at trials and complying with instructions. They may be quiet and they may present a very minimal complication for the high-profile case team. On the other hand, some special interest groups appear for high-profile trials intending to be disruptive and/or ensuring that their message is publicized by the media. They may also take actions to attempt to influence witnesses or jurors. To the extent possible, the high profile case team should try to anticipate the types of special interest groups that may appear and plan accordingly.
Parties to litigation will sometimes have groups appear for their cases that have a tight allegiance to them and go well beyond their families. As extreme examples, street gangs and hate groups do occasionally appear for trials. These people present the biggest risks and their presence needs to be addressed. They may wear clothing that defines their membership to a group and their connection to a party. If the group is well known to the public, there mere presence at the courthouse may be enough to cause fear on behalf of witnesses and may intimidate jurors. Special care should be taken to protect the integrity of the proceeding when these persons are present or are expected to be present.