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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Law - More on cameras in the courtroom

"Allow cameras in federal courts" is the headline to an editorial today in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Some quotes:

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, has something in common with Sisyphus, the eternally frustrated rock-pusher of Greek mythology. For the past eight years, Chabot has been pushing a cameras-in-federal-courtrooms bill up Capitol Hill, only to see it roll back down again and again as the Senate ignored it.

This time could be a different ballgame. Last week, the House passed Chabot's Sunshine in the Courtroom provision 375-45 as part of a court access/security bill, and Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has expressed support for the idea.

Chabot's measure would give all federal judges the discretion to allow TV cameras into civil and criminal trials, as well as appeals, on a case-by-case basis. Currently only appellate courts have such authority. * * *

"This is good public policy if you are a believer in open and accountable government," Chabot said. Exactly. Congress and many state legislatures routinely air their sessions. Every state now allows courtroom cameras under some circumstances. Many cities and counties put boards, councils and courts on cable access. As the use of cameras has grown, traditional rationales for opposing the broadcast of trials have melted away.

See the 11/10/05 ILB entry that includes discussion of the "Sunshine in the Courtroom" proposal, S. 829, which would give federal appellate and trial judges the option of opening their courtrooms to cameras.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 15, 2005 12:58 PM
Posted to General Law Related