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NCJ Number: 66251 Find in a Library
Title: CAMERAS AND COURTROOMS - FAIR TRIAL-FREE PRESS STANDARDS
Journal: FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL  Volume:52  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:456-460
Author(s): J D WHISENAND
Corporate Author: Florida Bar
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Florida Bar
Tallahassee, FL 32304
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION'S (ABA'S) FAIR TRIAL-FREE PRESS STANDARDS, WITH EMPHASIS ON ITS PROVISION AUTHORIZING CAMERAS IN COURTROOMS.
Abstract: THE ABA IN 1977, BEGAN A REEVALUATION OF STANDARDS PERTAINING TO THE USE OF CAMERAS IN COURTROOMS. THIS MARKED A STRIKING DEPARTURE FROM PREVIOUS ABA POSITIONS, AND PROVIDED THE ABA WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN STATES THAT HAVE ADOPTED EXPERIMENTAL OR PERMANENT CAMERA-IN-THE-COURTROOM RULES. HISTORICALLY, THE ABA HAD STAUNCHLY SUPPORTED JUDICIAL CANON 3A(7) WHICH PROHIBITED CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOMS. DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF THIS PROHIBITORY CANON, SEVERAL STATE COURTS HAD SANCTIONED THE REGULATED PRESENCE OF CAMERAS. THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT AND MANY OTHER STATE SUPREME COURTS COMMENCED A THOROUGH REEXAMINATION OF THE NEED FOR AN ABSOLUTE BAN TO CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOMS, AND THEIR STUDIES HAVE PRODUCED A WIDE VARIATION OF EXPERIMENTAL AND PERMANENT RULES. FLORIDA'S COURT INVOKED A 1 YEAR PILOT PROGRAM IN 1977 WHICH PERMITTED THE MEDIA TO USE CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM WITHOUT SEEKING THE CONSENT OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR THE PRESIDING JUDGE. HOWEVER, THE NUMBER OF CAMERAS AND AUDIO SYSTEM OPERATORS WERE LIMITED, AND PERMISSIBLE BRANDS AND MODELS DESIGNATED. THE PRESENCE OF CAMERAS WERE ALSO SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL ORDER. THREE TRIALS HAVE BEEN EXTENSIVELY TELEVISED IN FLORIDA. PRESUMABLY, THE PROPOSED ABA STANDARD RECOGNIZES THE ADVANCES, DEVELOPMENTS, AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT PERMIT CAMERAS TO ASSUME AN UNOBTRUSIVE ROLE IN THE COURTROOM, ALTHOUGH DECISIONMAKING IS RETAINED BY THE HIGHEST STATE COURT. APPLICATION OF THE PROPOSED STANDARD TO JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS MUST ALSO BE CONSIDERED IN VIEW OF THE TYPE OF TRIAL PROCEEDINGS. OPPONENTS TO THE PROPOSAL CITE MANY OBJECTIONS: PREJUDICE OF JURORS AND WITNESSES, LABELING OF A TRIAL AS NOTORIOUS OR A CAUSE CELEBRE; DISRUPTIONS OF THE TRIAL; AND THE PREJUDICIAL EFFECT ON THE JURY. ALTHOUGH THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS ON PARTICIPANTS CONTINUES TO WORRY MANY PERSONS, THE EXISTENCE OF CAMERAS IN THE COURTROOM DOES NOT VIOLATE THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. THE PROPOSED STANDARD MUST BE REVIEWED BY ABA COMMITTEES AND COUNCILS PRIOR TO ITS CONSIDERATION BY THE ABA HOUSE OF DELEGATES. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): American Bar Association (ABA); Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Courtroom proceedings broadcasting; Fair trial-free press; Florida; Freedom of the press; Media coverage
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66251

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