Why “Campaign NOW” For Cameras To Be In Every Courtroom?

Image credit: REUTERS: Aly Song


Because corrupt proceedings are happening each day inside courtrooms. And, cameras inside every courtroom will validate proper trial proceedings and verdict accuracies where court reporters fail.

JonAk AWOLL/AmericaOnCoffee (AOC)

It is urgent that we push for a bill to be passed!

Go For the PETITION: Signing

[An Excerpt]

Although some opponents of cameras in the courtroom have conjectured that such coverage may interfere with the right to a fair trial or cause some other irreparable harm, empirical studies of such objections have proved those concerns to be chimerical at best. Those objections have either been specifically refuted by prior experiments with and studies of audiovisual coverage in the courts, or can be expressly addressed by enacting intrinsic safeguards to complement judicial trial court discretion such as 22 NYCRR 131, The Rules of the Chief Administrator regarding Audio-Visual Coverage of Judicial Proceedings.

As noted by the Court of Appeals in its decision:

After each experiment, lasting approximately two to three years, the Legislature reviewed the findings and reports on audiovisual equipment in the courtroom, all of which recommended cameras in the courtroom, and, after each review, rejected the recommendation. On June 30, 1997, the Legislature and Governor allowed Judiciary Law § 218 to sunset. Thus, the ban on televised trials contained in Civil Rights Law § 52 resumed as of July 1, 1997, a ban which continues to the present. Despite the technological improvements to audiovisual equipment, which renders its presence in courtrooms less obtrusive, the Legislature has not seen fit since 1997 to amend section 52 or reenact section 218

Courtroom Television

We strongly believe that, after more than half a century, it is time for the legislature to acknowledge reality. Rather than “shooting the messenger,” one need look no further than People v Boss and the acquittal in 2000 of four NYPD officers for the murder of Amadou Diallo to apprehend the benefits of televised court proceedings. A New York Times editorial stated, the “decision to permit cameras in the courtroom allowed the public to understand the legal complexities of the officers’ claims of self-defense.” That see-it-for-yourself capability is even more important today in an age of Twitter, Facebook and text messaging.

The Internet has enabled gavel-to-gavel audio-visual coverage of courtroom proceedings because of its intrinsic capacity to permit unlimited content rather than be bound by the time constraints of traditional broadcast and cable programming. Additionally, newspaper websites have made it possible for the print media to also provide audio-visual coverage where they previously were relegated to still images and written words. Websites carrying news and information have the capacity to convey and archive video of full trial proceedings. A growing trend by many communities to have all-news cable television stations that focus around the clock on local events also would permit extended coverage of trials – not just short news clips with sound bites.

The benefits of allowing such coverage are numerous and significant: it will bring transparency to the judicial system, provide increased accountability from litigants, judges, and the press and educate citizens about the judicial process. Audio-visual coverage will allow the public to ensure that proceedings are conducted fairly, and, by extension, that government systems are working correctly. We expect that the watchful eye of the public will demand increased accountability from all courtroom participants. Claims of sensationalistic or inaccurate reporting will be readily verifiable by a public able to view the underlying proceedings for itself. Source