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NCJ Number: 47399 Find in a Library
Title: TV (TELEVISION) COMES TO THE COURTS
Journal: STATE COURT JOURNAL  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(SPRING 1978)  Pages:14-19,49-55
Author(s): D SILVERSTEIN
Corporate Author: National Ctr for State Courts
Publications Dept
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 77-DF-99-0021
Document: PDF
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE USE OF TELEVISION CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM ARE EXAMINED, AND THE EXPERIENCES OF STATES WHICH PERMIT TELEVISING OF TRIALS ARE REVIEWED.
Abstract: SINCE 1937, THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA) HAS OPPOSED THE USE OF TELEVISION IN THE COURTROOM. THE LATEST REVISION OF THE ABA POSITION, ADOPTED IN 1972, IS FOUND IN CANON 3A(7) OF THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT. IN ESSENCE, IT STATES THAT A JUDGE SHOULD PROHIBIT BROADCASTING, TELEVISING, RECORDING, OR PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE COURTROOM AND ADJACENT AREAS DURING SESSIONS OR RECESSES EXCEPT IN SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES. IT COULD BE ALLOWED, FOR INSTANCE, AT CEREMONIAL PROCEEDINGS, FOR THE PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE, OR FOR EDUCTIONAL/INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES. OPPONENTS ARGUE THAT TELEVISING TRIALS WILL DISRUPT PROCEEDINGS, INVADE PARTICIPANTS' PRIVACY, CAUSE DIFFICULTY IN OBTAINING WITNESSES, ADD TO THE PROBLEM OF PREJUDICIAL PUBLICITY, AND BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL ENTERTAINMENT. PROPONENTS MAINTAIN THAT THE TELEVISING OF TRIALS IS A CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED COMPONENT OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, IS NECESSARY TO INSURING THE RIGHT TO A PUBLIC TRIAL, AND CAN PROVIDE A SOURCE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT THE JUDICIAL PROCESS. AS OF THE TIME OF WRITING, EIGHT STATES AND ONE COUNTY ALLOW TELEVISION COVERAGE OF AT LEAST SOME COURTROOM PROCEEDINGS. IN COLORADO, CAMERA COVERAGE IS ALLOWED AT BOTH THE APPELLATE AND TRIAL LEVELS. THE DECISION TO ALLOW COVERAGE IS LEFT LARGELY TO THE DISCRETION OF THE JUDGE, BUT WITHIN GUIDELINES DESIGNED TO PROTECT DECORUM OF THE COURT, THE PRIVACY AND SAFETY OF THE PARTICIPANTS, AND THE PROCESS OF JUSTICE. OPINIONS ON THE 21 YEARS OF TV AND RADIO COVERAGE IN COLORADO GENERALLY HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY FAVORABLE. ALTHOUGH TEXAS ALLOWED TELEVISION TRIAL COVERAGE AS EARLY AS 1955, THE ABA CANON PROHIBITING SUCH COVERAGE WAS READOPTED IN 1965, AND THE STATE SUPREME COURT ADOPTED THE CANON IN 1974. IN 1975, THE ALABAMA SUPREME COURT ADOPTED CANON 3A(7) PERMITTING THE TRIAL AND APPELLATE JUDGE TO EXERCISE SOUND DISCRETION IN DECISIONS ALLOWING BROADCASTING AFTER COURT AUTHORIZATION OF A GENERAL PLAN FOR SUCH BROADCASTS. ALTHOUGH NEVADA HAS A PERMISSIVE CANON, BROADCASTING HAS BEEN PERMITTED ONLY RARELY. WASHINGTON, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, AND NEW HAMPSHIRE HAVE ALSO EASED RESTRICTIONS ON TELEVISION COVERAGE EITHER ON A PERMANENT OR EXPERIMENTAL BASIS BETWEEN 1976 AND 1978. AN ADDITIONAL FOUR STATES ARE CONSIDERING LIBERALIZING CANON RESTRICTIONS. (JAP)
Index Term(s): American Bar Association (ABA); Courtrooms; Media coverage; Reform; Standards; Televisions; Trial procedures; United States of America
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47399

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