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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98410 Find in a Library
Title: Assessment of the Use of Cameras in State and Federal Courts
Journal: Georgia Law Review  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1984)  Pages:389-424
Author(s): R P Lindsey
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 36
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the constitutional issues raised by the presence of cameras in the courtroom, surveys the rules of the States and the Federal courts regarding the admissibility of cameras, analyzes the logic of the differing rules, and suggests a case-by-case balancing test.
Abstract: Allowing or disallowing cameras in the courtroom raises legal issues involving the 1st and 6th amendments and the due process guarantees of the 5th and 14th amendments. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the first amendment guarantee of freedom of the press extends to trial coverage; yet, the Court has not extended this right of press access to include the photographing of trials. The sixth amendment guarantees a public trial to protect the accused against secretive misconduct by the state. The Supreme Court has held that this right is satisifed by the public's right to attend the trial. Although the Court has decided cases involving the impact of courtroom cameras on the due process rights of the defendant, the Court has provided few guidelines for determining in a given case whether cameras prevented the defendant from receiving a fair trial. In the past several years, States have tended to liberalize the rules for the admission of cameras to the courtroom. States either (1) ban cameras completely, (2) allow cameras only with the consent of various trial participants, or (3) allow cameras at the discretion of the trial judge. Federal courts still ban cameras in the courtroom, but the circuit court decision in United States v. Hastings suggests this position may be weakening. A rule allowing cameras in the courtroom subject only to the case-by-case discretion of the judge is a sound approach to the issue, provided the judge properly balances the constitutional issues at stake. A total of 212 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Courtroom proceedings broadcasting; Freedom of the press; Right to Due Process; Rights of the accused; State laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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