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Federal Courts To Begin First Digital Video Pilot

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the trial-tube dept.

The Courts 80

coondoggie writes "Federal district courts have been prohibited from allowing any sort of electronic dissemination of trials since 1946, but that is about to change. Fourteen federal trial courts and 100 judges have been selected to take part in the federal Judiciary's three-year digital video pilot, which will begin July 18 and will go a long way towards determining the effect of cameras in courtrooms."

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Good (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36378498)

Now the public can see that most of the defendants are NIGGERS and maybe reconsider if affirmative action is such a good idea.

What do you call a black man with a clean shave, a nice haircut, and a three-piece suit? The defendant.

Cameras make sense in some cases (4, Insightful)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378602)

I'm not a fan of becoming a surveillance society, but cameras in certain instances definitely make sense. I want cameras in the courtroom, police waiting rooms, and mounted on every police car during traffic stops. If my freedom may some day depend on my word against that of a police officer, I'd prefer to have hard video evidence just in case. Just look at all of the cases where you see cops acting with impunity because they didn't know they were being filmed, and then watch their reactions once they know someone busted them.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (5, Interesting)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378706)

Public employees' work should be transparent to the people that pay their salaries, period. It is ironic how the police and law enforcement in general want cameras on all of us, but shine the spotlight on them and they cry foul.

   

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378878)

Would this include military personnel?

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36378966)

Why wouldn't it?

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379794)

Because that would be a legitimate threat to national security. Information doesn't necessarily just escape, it tends to slowly leak out in drips and providing a feed of military personnel is hardly the kind of thing that promotes the necessary ideals for being successful in military endeavors. It works for democracy, but the military isn't a democracy and their job is to fight the wars that the elected officials have decided they should fight. Transparency of that sort is hardly helpful for anybody.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379098)

Within reason, sure. I don't expect a teardown of an F35 to be posted to youtube, but I do remember the days when reporters were able to film and actually, you know, report on the goings-on in war zones.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379890)

Yes.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36380822)

You don't give the Military enough money for us to do that, sorry pal. We only monitor gates with cameras and some spec ops as well. Also training commands.

How much is enough? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383078)

Fuck you pal, we currently give you $680 billion a year, which is approximately 30% of the federal budget. It is the largest defense budget in the entire world.

For comparison, we only spend 0.5% of the federal budget on foreign aid.

We give you plenty of money to do whatever the fuck you want, and that is the problem. The money is wasted on stupid wars, tons of oil and ammunition, and a standing army of over 2 million soldiers.

If we saved some of that money that you love to waste, we could do a lot of good stuff with it. I'm not in favor of videotaping everything the military does for security reasons, but fuck you for saying you don't get enough money. You get more money than any other organization in the entire fucking world.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379062)

I'm not sure that the argument that you are a public employee therefore you deserve no privacy in the workplace really holds water. By the same argument there should be nothing wrong with your employer being able to read your private web hosted email if you check it at work.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379166)

They shoiuld and they can. They can monitor whatever you do at work on their time. If you don't like it, don't check your webmail on your work computer. If you simply must check it during the day, use your cell phone during one of your specified breaks, or using a notebook with a 3G connection, again during your specified breaks. Sure it's inconvenient, but I don't see why you should expect privacy when you are using your work computer.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380466)

Sure it's inconvenient, but I don't see why you should expect privacy when you are using your work computer.

I think most people would expect to be able to make private phone calls on office telephones (for example, to/from their doctor). So why should email be any different?

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

BarefootClown (267581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36382556)

I think most people would expect to be able to make private phone calls on office telephones (for example, to/from their doctor).

I don't. I know very well that I'm running on a software-controlled PBX, and that calls are routinely monitored or recorded. It's the company's phone line, not mine; why shouldn't the company have the right to monitor it?

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383098)

I'm not arguing that employers should not be allowed to monitor equipment usage. I'm simply stating that it is perfectly reasonable to expect some modicum of privacy.

6th amendment (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379470)

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial..."

In my mind this should of happened years ago. If they have instant replay in football why can't I have the same ability to challenge the transcript in a court room? I'm not saying this data needs to be live streamed over the internet, But I think it needs to be available to the public in some means.

Re:6th amendment (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379842)

The question is what precisely constitutes a public trial. The founding fathers definitely didn't envision the possibility of the entire nation viewing a trial, and in my view this would be a mistake. The public nature of a trial is to ensure transparency, however when such proceedings are televised it dries up the pool of potential jurors as well. Which is usually not a problem, however sometimes there's a civil suit which follows a criminal trial or for one reason or another the case has to be retried all or in part.

I realize that it's not a popular opinion, but this is something which has potentially very serious consequences to the nation as a whole. Ones which definitely weren't anticipated by the founding fathers.

Re:6th amendment (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383508)

It needs to be "public" enough so no one thinks anyone is hiding anything in there. Therefore anyone can walk into a courtroom and watch a public trial.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379770)

I disagree, cameras only make sense for things like Law enforcement, it's complete bullshit to make somebody take a pay cut to work in the public sector and then force them to give up all their privacy as well. There's no reason why we need cameras in most of those cases when an independent auditor can already ensure adequate transparency in a way that the public watching can't.

Plus, you're not their boss. I know that people are going to disagree, but you're not. When you can hire and fire them and call the shots, then you can be the boss. But watching a few minutes or even hours of somebody working is hardly qualification for making an assessment of their job quality. Ultimately all you do is make the ones that are legitimately slacking off find more innovative ways of hiding it. If they were a waste of salary to begin with, I doubt very much that they're going to allow themselves to be found out just because you want cameras.

Law enforcement is very different since most of that stuff is done in public and they're frequently subpoenaed. Having that evidence is ultimately good for everybody involved as it makes things more certain.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36381762)

cameras only make sense for things like Law enforcement,

Or more specificly, they make sense where there is a significant power imbalance, and thus opportunity for unpunished abuse, between the people being filmed.

Pointing a camera at some office drone simply because he handles paperwork for the state government doesn't do anyone any good.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36382926)

You do realize that you "pay the salaries" of pretty much everyone you end up doing business with that involves money, public or private, right? Just because a very, very small amount of someone's pay happens to come from your wallet (which in turn is filled in much the same way however you earn a living) doesn't give you the right to spy on everyone at work. That said, police are something of a special case because they are granted certain freedoms in the performance of their jobs that other individuals do not have, and among these are the ability to use force and deprive others of their freedom. I don't, within reason, care what a cop does when he or she is not interacting with the public. Situations where a confrontation is ongoing or can be expected should be recorded and those records should be available to everyone, again within reason because if we do that I also believe that someone who is arrested but not convicted of a crime should be able to have the entire incident expunged upon request. There's way too much arrested == guilty in our society these days.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36378754)

You're assuming that the recording of this event would not magically disappear...

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (4, Insightful)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378856)

Let me clarify a little bit too - I don't mean all this crap should become a TV media circus. But it should be filmed for posterity's sake and archived, available with a Freedom of Information request.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

Weaselgrease (2050100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378936)

Unfortunately as soon as this became an option, every time elections were up for anything from town sheriff to president, campaign reps will be spamming Freedom of Information for any reports and videos on the opposition and their entire party to use it against them in the campaign. Not to mention Paparazzi magazines would do it for any video footage of celebrities.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379118)

Understood, but I would be willing to accept this as the cost of having an open and transparent judicial system. If the files are digitized and put online, with a small access charge for FoA requests, the cost to the municipalities would be minimal. Probably less than dealing with Xeroxing court transcripts by the caseload for FoA requests today.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379362)

There could be restrictions placed on getting the footage released to protect the privacy of the filmed non-governmental authorities. Make the public servants all sign releases saying while they are on duty, they allow themselves to be filmed etc. Everyone else would have to give up a release or somehow convince a judge to compel the release of the video if the filmed individual does not consent to it. That would stop most frivolous use of the video that you are worried about.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379900)

Let me clarify a little bit too - I don't mean all this crap should become a TV media circus.

Have you met us, your fellow humans? Fried starch shouldn't be a dietary staple, but here we are.

But it should be filmed for posterity's sake and archived, available with a Freedom of Information request.

I think most of the important stuff is already in the transcript. Posterity doesn't benefit much from knowing what color shirt the defendant was wearing.

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379058)

I've worked in a trial in Delaware Chancellery Court that did this, it was pretty cool.

Additionally any time over 50 pixels changed on the document display (which was either from a document camera or a laptop feed) a screen shot was taken.

In real time you could watch both, and then about 6pm you could get the video and a timed power point display. It was nice. New Jersey has videos of the proceedings available in the high-tech court rooms too.

I think the fear that the courts have is that the official record is no longer typed, which could make every step of the appeals process take longer, though I would HOPE they are more afraid of inaccuracies being made fact.

I was personally shocked in Delaware when they allowed it, as phones/laptops with cameras, and recording devices were strictly prohibited, yet it was being broadcast over the internet (free to Delaware residence), and available for purchase each night. It would be synced to the official transcript so you could text search the official transcript and jump to the correct place of the video, though often that file wasn't available until as late as 9pm.

This was in late '04, New Jersey was offering videos (without any extra services, such as searchable text and presented exhibits) when i was there in late '09, I don't know how long it has been available for. It was though, a part of what's a available naturally there for any trial in that specific courtroom, and they sell the DVD's for a very low price, where in Delaware it was a big expensive to do (still cheaper than flying people around to let the home office see what was going on).

Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379086)

I'm not a fan of becoming a surveillance society, but cameras in certain instances definitely make sense. I want cameras in the courtroom, police waiting rooms, and mounted on every police car during traffic stops. If my freedom may some day depend on my word against that of a police officer, I'd prefer to have hard video evidence just in case. Just look at all of the cases where you see cops acting with impunity because they didn't know they were being filmed, and then watch their reactions once they know someone busted them.

While I do wholeheartedly agree with you in regards of being able to defend yourself with hard evidence, I don't know yet if there is enough value in exchanging my right to privacy(allow cameras in certain areas, whats to stop them from putting them everywhere), only to find that the cop who was "busted" on video receives nothing more than a slap on the wrist. You managed to point out only half of the real issue here with people being caught on film. If those caught on film are still not punished appropriately, then I see no point in me giving up my right to privacy.

Won't somebody please think of... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380884)

...sketch artists? [ehow.com]

Maybe they should organize into some kind of Sketch Artist Industry of America organization, and sue everyone for watching courtroom videos instead of looking at their static, yet artistic and unique, drawings?
I'm sure that over the years they've gotten to know a few lawyers who'd represent them in their quest to ban cameras from courtrooms once again.

the effect of cameras in courtrooms (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378678)

"the effect of cameras in courtrooms" ... That's something that seems pretty simple, until you start think about it.

Look at the OJ trial. If that hadn't been covered by the media, would it have been such a circus? Would the same result have happened? We don't know, but it's quite possible things would be quite different. For one thing, those lawyers suddenly knew their careers could be made or broken on that case, and that's going to change their strategy. The whole glove-trying thing was supposed to be a huge visual shocker (and it was!) and turned out horribly wrong for the prosecutor. If there had been no cameras, would he have still done it?

The jurors also knew their every in-court action would be up for public scrutiny, not the least of which was the final verdict. It's nearly impossible to determine how that affected each of them.

If you haven't guessed already, I don't think trials should be publicized until they are over. The media shouldn't get to cover the trial while in progress. It's not entertainment, it's justice. And it's being warped.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (0)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378742)

The media shouldn't get to cover the trial while in progress. It's not entertainment, it's justice. Why can't it be both?

i.e., "Who runs Bartertown?"

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378822)

If you haven't guessed already, I don't think trials should be publicized until they are over. The media shouldn't get to cover the trial while in progress. It's not entertainment, it's justice.

No kidding. I feel that way every time there's some long drawn-out event that gets minute-by-minute play-by-play coverage for weeks.

I never liked the idea of hearing about each miniscule development each day for days or weeks. I'd much rather they wait until a trial or election or what-have-you is over, and then tell me what the result was, once. Not dozens of times. Few events warrant that kind of attention, and among those which do, the whole "media circus" phenomenon makes a mockery of them.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378830)

"The media shouldn't get to cover the trial while in progress."

Then change the US Constitution.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379366)

"The media shouldn't get to cover the trial while in progress."

Then change the US Constitution.

Which part? The part that ensures the media can report freely or the part that guarantees me a fair trial?

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379832)

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.[

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379998)

"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."

Telling the media they can't cover a trial in progress violates the First Amendment.

Furthermore, Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379884)

That right there is the problem. I can't imagine how we could change the constitution so as to prevent the media circus that some of these proceedings result in without adversely affecting the ability of the media to engage in legitimate journalistic coverage of trials in general.

It's obvious to pretty much everybody that there is a problem with the way that the press covers high profile trials, but nobody has been able to propose a solution which doesn't lend itself to the sorts of abuses which our Constitution was in part designed to prevent.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380408)

Why is it a problem? Seriously - yes, the OJ Simpson trial was a media circus. But... so what?

The verdict is going to be the same. The jurors are chosen before the media reports the trial.

It may be distasteful to be watching a man's life hang in the balance and using that to sell advertising, but so what?

If you don't like it, don't watch it. I didn't.

Until they start creating trials purely for their entertainment value, who cares if there are circuses around some of them.

I'd much rather have an occasional media feeding frenzy than secret trials where the media are forbidden from any reporting until it's all over.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378944)

The jurors also knew their every in-court action would be up for public scrutiny, not the least of which was the final verdict.

The jurors were never on camera.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

JaneTheIgnorantSlut (1265300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378964)

The jurors also knew their every in-court action would be up for public scrutiny, not the least of which was the final verdict. It's nearly impossible to determine how that affected each of them.

The jurors were not shown during the trial, so I can't imagine how their in-court actions would be known.

Re:the effect of cameras in courtrooms (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380490)

WRT OJ, I would say it encouraged them to hit a proper (in the legal sense) verdict, even though the guy was obviously guilty, and it probably made them miserable to do so.

Totally against this (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378790)

People who really care are happy with transcripts. Cameras turn lawyers and judges into showboaters and definitely influences the process. A judge who previously would have happily accepted that he was in the wrong and sided with an attorney on minor issues now will worry about his image (especially in the era of electable judges), puff out his chest, and push back.

And, what of the cases of the "indefensible"; pedophiles, terrorists, rapists, etal.? How much more likely is a judge willing to reject an argument in their favor for fear of looking like he's an appeaser?

Lack of cameras is a natural barrier for the carnival barkers and curiosity seekers looking for nothing more than another reality TV outlet.

Re:Totally against this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36378914)

In that case, they should at least make all court transcripts available for free online. They don't.

Re:Totally against this (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379020)

Federal judges aren't elected....

Re:Totally against this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379774)

Mod parent up, please!

Re:Totally against this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379032)

Seems likely ONLY if it is to become like people's court, et al; If they are allowed to interview people, and granted "circus" access. However if it is a simple relatively stationary camera ala C-SPAN is to congress, then I don't see how it's any different than what the founders intended. Trials are MEANT to be public, to have a gallery, where all citizens can see for themselves the mannerisms and non-verbal language of all participants. Thus they'll make more informed jurors in future trials if they are chosen.... It is only the size and distance of our current society that creates such a gap in public transparency from being a reality, about time technology helps close that gap.

Re:Totally against this (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380516)

Sidebars would not be part of the video available to the public, just as they are not part of the transcript available to the public.

That was easy.

Re:Totally against this (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383642)

(especially in the era of electable judges)

To be fair, Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms. But your point is well-made anyway.

Unless it's juicy, no one will care: do it anyway (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378816)

Except for some weirdos like me who have an interest in legal proceedings, my guess is that these trials will be as widely viewed as C-SPAN --- that is, practically not at all.

This doesn't mean that I don't think it's important that the proceedings of every trial are recorded and made (to the greatest extent possible) available to the public. It's just that I'm too cynical to think that Joe Sixpack is interested in watching anything like this. Even I would only be interested in watching the proceedings in interesting cases over copyright and patent issues.

Re:Unless it's juicy, no one will care: do it anyw (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379052)

Many Supreme Court hearings would probably be viewed fairly widely, just maybe not by Joe Sixpack.

Re:Unless it's juicy, no one will care: do it anyw (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379690)

I love your sig. I'm stealing it and claiming it as my own. ;-)

Bad idea (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36378826)

(1) Adding video to Congress has not made anything more "transparent". Now the elected servants just hide in their offices to shaft the populace, and they use the floor to do pointless campaign speeches (posturing).

(2) A judge's duty is to the law, even if that displeases the general population. Having a camera means he too will be giving speeches to get re-elected, instead of following the letter of the law.

Re:Bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379064)

Federal Justices aren't elected!

Re:Bad idea (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380014)

It amazes me that they don't know this because it must mean they've never voted in an election in their lives or if they did they just weren't paying attention.

Re:Bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36380248)

Given participate rates and the results of elections either one could be true =)
Though I do have to admit that I frequently skip judges when I vote as I often don't have enough time to research their positions and records like I would like to and I won't vote an uninformed ballot.

Re:Bad idea (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 3 years ago | (#36382276)

Though I do have to admit that I frequently skip judges when I vote as I often don't have enough time to research their positions and records like I would like to and I won't vote an uninformed ballot.

You shouldn't need to research their 'positions'. Judges should make decisions based on the constitution, the law, and the evidence. They most decidely should not base their decisions on public opinion, which litigant donated the most to their campaign, or how the decision will affect their chances of being re-elected.

Given that, you should always vote for the incumbant to insulate the judge from public opinion.

Re:Bad idea (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383118)

Was more referring to things like lock em up and throw away the key vs rehabilitation or "all drug crimes get the max, no exceptions" like one local judge who I did vote against.

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36380412)

'(1) Adding video to Congress has not made anything more "transparent".'

As someone who has sat in actual committee hearings in DC, as well as watch them on CSPAN when something interesting comes up, I find them incredibly useful.... ....showing how stupid many elected officials are on the matters they are supposed to be experts in or representing. Most of it is sad showboating. Most arguments are crap.

And I use that knowledge in how I vote. It may not be more transparent, but it IS useful. It's the same effect as outside Congress or a committee hearing--If I read about Michelle Bachman, and I think she sounds strange but maybe misunderstood, then I SEE her speak, it makes all the difference. Same with Sarah Palin--you knew she was a nut when she spoke, well before everyone with two neurons knew she was nuts, while just reading her stances she came off as reasonable (and has veered into the deep black pit of the deep since). I realize those examples are outside the realm of a courtroom or Congressional session, hearing, or open committee hearing, but it quite effectively puts people in a different light.

The problem with transparency in a courtroom though is that showboating becomes an issue. Much like a perp walk, which was probably more done to show the defendent, that they had a person, that they had the "right" guy (or not), and their condition, it's become more a display to abuse and sway jury pools and nowadays represents to people gloating of the police state Not sure what the impact will be in the court room, but no good is a possibility.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36381794)

(1) Adding video to Congress has not made anything more "transparent". Now the elected servants just hide in their offices to shaft the populace, and they use the floor to do pointless campaign speeches (posturing).

Not if you watch The Daily Show. Maybe most of them have run off to hide, but there is still enough footage of them saying obviously contradictory things to keep millions of people entertained 4 nights a week.

Re:Bad idea (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36384162)

Federal judges are not elected. This article is about federal judges. Accordingly, there should be no concern about giving election speeches from the bench.

Public is Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379038)

The 6th Amendment [wikipedia.org] clearly says that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial".

TV cameras make things pretty darn public. -www.awkwardengineer.com

Re:Public is Public (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379928)

Public just means that members of the public are allowed to visit any trial they wish without needing permission. Space permitting of course. There is no constitutional provision which dictates that they have to be televised and there has yet to be a ruling from SCOTUS that says that they must be televised.

There are pros, but the big cons of contaminating future jury pools and harm to witnesses are significant enough to warrant careful consideration of the issue.

Mixed feelings (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379132)

On the one hand, you have a better record of testimony. Written transcripts only pick up words, not actions or tone of testimony. Video picks up a lot more.

OTOH, video can be deceiving. People tend to believe video because they are seeing it. Thus, if the camera angles weren't right, it might persuade them one way over another.

Humdinger...

Let the defendant decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379190)

I think the defendant should be able to allow this at any point if they want. Otherwise it shouldn't be available for streaming until the case has been decided and any deadlines for appeals have passed.

Re:Let the defendant decide (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379946)

That's actually a good idea. Subject to prosecutor's objections, that's probably the most sensible solution that I've seen to the problems involved.

Do Not Want (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379248)

Honestly there are lots of transactions in life where it's just not in anyone's interest to have the "juicy bits" up on YouTube. The only thing anyone will ever see from courtroom video will be the stuff that's "entertaining" and most likely taken out of context.

All these court proceedings are already public, so if you don't care enough about a trial to actually go there and observe it for yourself, then I don't think you need to have access to a full video record of the proceedings. Transcripts and eyewitness accounts should be plenty.

I am sick of seeing endless trial video filling up the news as it is already. Let us know what the verdict is at the end and skip all the gory details (and interminable tedium) of the process.

The only thing worse than releasing courtroom video is the practice of making 911 call recordings public. Ugh. I do not want to have to listen over and over to people in the middle of some domestic crisis.

It's also a matter of information overload. The amount of raw information collected and available continues to grow exponentially. We need to get better at summarizing data rather than just trying to deliver the raw data directly to everyone. For court proceedings, that's what the news reporter who sat through the trial used to do, and I would be quite happy to see that tradition continue.

G.

Re:Do Not Want (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36379360)

It's rare, but I sometimes wished I could be at the trial, but because of work, I can't. You're absolutely right that we need to summarize more. However, I think we can do that while still have access to the full record.

I think of it like a library index file. You get the summary, but if you want, they can get the whole book for you.

Re:Do Not Want (1)

LamerX (164968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36383038)

Are you serious? The raw data is the kind of data that the government needs to have on record. The last thing we want is some kind of slanted summary of a case becoming the official record. The whole thing needs to be available so that the public can go back and witness the facts if you disagree with the "summary." Washington has had all it's state Supreme Court cases on trial for years, and nothing of what you're talking about has happened. It's all archived in one place, and endless trial video isn't plastered all over our local news or anything. It helps keep the media in check, because it's all right there for people to go back and see. Sorry if it inconveniences you, and you have another website out on the internet that you don't have to go look at, but it's really for the good of everybody. Don't wanna listen to endless 911 calls? Don't listen to them...

Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36379652)

Goddamitt! Something else to spend money we don't have on.

Trial by the public opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36380198)

A friend of mine was charged with gross negligence of his mother. It was a media circus in this small town. Cops making statements, along with neighbors and even detailed analyses by a forensic nurse.

This went on for about 2 weeks, now, as it turnes out, they were wrong. All charges have been dropped after he spent a lot of money on lawyers. All of the people that were belittering him in public are now silent.

It was all a trial by the public opinion. His life is over, and he has had to move out of state.

Until I had seen it, I only thought celebrities had to deal with this kind of situation. Now it seems that everyone will be a victim.

I think all information regarding an ongoing case should remain secret to avoid this kind of situation. Allowing cameras in the courtrooms will only make a bad situation, worse.

Jesse Jackson `Excuse me, you are blocking my sho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36380376)

Jesse Jackson disease : `Excuse me, you are blocking my shot`

not to be confused with Weird Al Gore disorder :

`Excuse me, you are blocking my shot`

Q: What did anderson cooper douche to his douche assange during their newly exposed efair?

A: `Excuse me, douche, you are blocking my shot`

Want to see the effects? Check Washington State (1)

LamerX (164968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36382982)

Washington State has been broadcasting State Supreme Court cases on TV and archiving them all on the web for well over 10 years. The Effect? People go back through court cases and gather up information more quickly and easily than they ever could have before. Our legal system hasn't been burdened, and it helps get the facts of cases out to the people quicker. People anywhere in the world can attend the court cases without having to travel to the courtroom. There haven't been any negative effects of this AT ALL, and it is public record after all.

Re:Want to see the effects? Check Washington State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386362)

That is totally different. The supreme court only deals with constitutionality and as such does not hear testimony from witnesses, only lawyers. Can you imagine how many rape victims would testify if they knew that video of it would be up on Youtube that evening? Very few. Criminal trials should not be video taped, as above comments have said transcripts are enough for transparency.

What format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36383116)

It's not transparent at all if it's not in an open video format.

Re:What format? (1)

sprint907 (1592909) | more than 3 years ago | (#36385180)

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Cameras good, EGO bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386068)

The cameras documenting everything is a good idea.
The law should also include a restriction of some kind on lawyer/judge twistings of reality.
At least there would be true proof of lawyer/judge misconduct.

It honestly would be nice if those people could feel big brother's eye like the general population does too.

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