Research Project PresentationPresentation Transcript
Cameras in the Courtroom: By: Michael Myrick
History of Cameras in Court: ABA removed cameras during the 1930s. 4 decades later, technology had finally approved; cameras were far less disruptive in court. By 1995, 47 states allowed the decision up to the judges (“Cameras in Court”).
Mississippi: “In June 1995, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a statewide ban on cameras in the courtroom” (Hull). As of today, cameras are not allowed within Mississippi’s courtrooms.
O.J. Simpson: Even though the media’s cameras portrayed Simpson in an unfavorable light, Simpson still supported the use of cameras during his trial. He felt they would prove his innocence to his supporters and fans so they could warmly welcome him back if/when he was acquitted (Cohn).
Pros of Cameras in the Courtroom: “…the lens is a check on the excesses of autocratic judges and forces lawyers to sharply hone their arguments, lest they embarrass themselves before a television audience that may include their peers and potential client” (Cohn). Educational for the public The public is more accepting of an outcome if they are allowed to personally watch the trial. Supports the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Cons of Cameras in the Courtroom: Judges, attorneys, and other participants are worried and focused on not making a mistake on television and losing their supporters. The public could take a look or response out of context-whether the camera meant to portray it that way or not. Other members of the jury will alter their decision on hopes of appearing on a talk show when the trial is over. Attorneys or witnesses may show boat or exaggerate their testimonies. Some witnesses won’t testify because they fear for their safety. Members of the jury are fearful of the threatening aftermath. Cameras and media can simply be disruptive.
High Profile Cases: ANNA NICOLE SMITH-cameras captured the Florida judge crying on the bench (Wieland). PHIL SPECTOR- Judge Larry Fidler allowed gavel-to-gavel TV coverage of the murder trial in LA (“Phil Spector Murder Trial Will be Televised”). SCOTT PETERSON- cameras were not allowed during this trial in California (Donaldson-Evans). MARTHA STEWART- was not televised because it was federal charge; cameras are not allowed in Federal Courts (Donaldson-Evans). WILLIAM KENNEDY SMITH- televised on Court TV (Cohn). MENENDEZ BROTHERS- 1st trial was televised and ended with a hung jury (Cohn). MICHAEL JACKSON-was not televised due to shielding the identity of minors in the sex-related case (Hurley).
Digital Ethics: The issue of cameras within courtrooms has been debatable for years. The people who confront this matter are forced to face their own digital ethics. They are obligated to make an ethical decision regarding the operation of cameras or other digital devices within digital environments. A courtroom is one particular environment that deals with digital ethics such as the use of media cameras.
Working Bibliography: "Cameras in Court."West’s Encyclopedia of American Law.2005.Encyclopedia.com.05 Mar.2001.<http.//www.encyclopedia.com>. Cohn, Marjorie, and David Dow. Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Print. Donaldson-Evans, Catherine. "FOXNews.com - High-Profile Cases Shut the Door on Cameras – Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment." FoxNews.com - Breaking News | Latest News | Current News. 10 Feb. 2004. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110915,00.html>. Hull, Katrina. "RCFP: Progress Rolls Slowly for Camera Access to Courts." The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. 1 Aug. 2003. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.rcfp.org/newsitems/index.php?i=6047>. Hurley, Liam. "RCFP: High-profile Cases Bring Attention to Media's Struggle for Greater Camera Access to Courts.“ "Phil Spector Murder Trial Will Be Televised – Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment - FOXNews.com." FoxNews.com - Breaking News | Latest News | Current News. 16 Feb. 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252463,00.html>. Weiland, Lucy. "Cameras in the Courtroom - November 2007." Minnesota Judicial Branch. 14 Nov. 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.mncourts.gov/district/4/?page=1995>.