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Prop 8 Lawyer Wants Closing Arguments Close to Cameras

Televising

By Julia Rosen

Shocking nobody, Charles Cooper from Protect Marriage and the Prop 8 side wants the courtroom during closed arguments closed to cameras. He penned letter to Judge Walker in response to the one last week from the Media Coalition. Advocate:

In a letter to U.S. district judge Vaughn R. Walker, attorney Charles J. Cooper wrote that allowing cameras in the courtroom would violate an earlier stay order by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in January blocked broadcast of trial proceedings as part of a pilot project previously approved by a judicial council of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Karen Ocamb has the full letter up at LGBT POV (and Scribd is below, thanks Kathleen!).

This is the interesting bit, beyond the arguements over due process and other lawyerly talk.

Fourth, there is little merit to the Media Coalition’s argument that “the concerns earlier reviewed by the Supreme Court should not preclude” the public broadcast of closing arguments because they “will solely consist of the arguments of counsel—and not witness testimony or evidence.” As an initial matter, the parties may play excerpts from the video-recorded depositions during the course of closing arguments. In any case, in Hollingsworth, the Supreme Court specifically cited the findings and policies of the Judicial Conference of the United States, noting that while those policies “may not be binding on the lower courts, they are at the very least entitled to respectful consideration.” 130 S. Ct. at 712 (quotation marks omitted). While it is true that the deleterious effect of public broadcast on witnesses is one of the concerns undergirding the Judicial Conference’s policy, it is by no means the only concern. As we have explained previously, the Judicial Conference’s policy also rests on findings that public broadcast has negative effects on some judges and attorneys, including distraction, grandstanding, and avoidance of unpopular decisions or positions. Moreover, the Judicial Conference has repeatedly stressed that “the presence of cameras in a trial courtroom … increases security and safety issues” and that “[t]hreats against judges, lawyers, and other participants could increase even beyond the current disturbing level.”

There’s a lot there, so let’s unpack it.

First, Cooper is contending that since there exists a chance that video taped depositions will be aired that the whole proceedings should not be televised. That’s an easy fix. Turn off the video feed and just use the sound, or turn the cameras completely off.

The rest of it is Cooper arguing that, because the Supreme Court doesn’t like cameras to begin with, and cited some “Judicial Conference” in their original decision, Walker should listen to what the Conference says and not allow cameras in. If that is the case, then the whole pilot project for video taping other trials ought to be junked out the window. But there has never been an explicit ruling from the Supreme Court saying that cameras should never be allowed in a court room.

Note that Cooper is managing to work in a “protect us, we are victims” line right there at the end. It just does not hold water when it comes to the closing arguments. These are well rehearsed lawyers who are very used to the public eye, as is Judge Walker.

Now we wait for Walker to issue his ruling on the request from the Media Coalition.

[scribd id=31885883 key=key-1amn3l3n3xvrp9ayzrrm mode=list]

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26 Comments

  • 1. Bob  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Not surprising, Wow Judge Walker is a powerfull , man, I'm praying for him, during these next weeks, as he makes these decisions,
    Lets hope, whatever he does, works to balance the scales of justice, in such a way that we can first understand the reasons for his decisions, and ultimately accept them.

  • 2. JonT  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I'm shocked, (nay, SHOCKED!), that pro-prop8 wants to keeps this trial as invisible as they can. 😉

    …and that “[t]hreats against judges, lawyers, and other participants could increase even beyond the current disturbing level.

    So – anybody have a clue what disturbing threats he's whining about? Somebody give him a dirty look or something?

  • 3. Tigger  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:38 am

    The last thing our opponents want is to have Olson and Boies give a show stopping closing arguement live to the world.

    One can only hope..

  • 4. Ronnie  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Now that the press has caught wind as to how important this case is….the religious reich is now overstepping another line proving how completely and utterly unconstitutional and anti-American they really are.

    THEY ARE VIOLATING THE 1ST AMENDMENT!!!!

    enough said….<3…Ronnie

  • 5. Bob  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Right Ronnie, let's not forget, and try to make everyone aware, the media did admit this was a history making court case……

  • 6. Ronnie  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:47 am

    the funny thing is that they are so naive in thinking that just because it may not air it's going to prevent the "threats"….

    The entire case is public, the transcripts will get out, the names of judges, lawyers, ect ect ect….FOOLS…THEY'RE ALL FOOLS!!!!!…..<3…Ronnie

  • 7. Bolt  |  May 24, 2010 at 11:15 am

    What are the odds that we resume the practice of marriage equality this summer, in California?

  • 8. Brad  |  May 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Mr. Blankenhorn rejects any connection with Mr. Rekers:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/opinion/l25rich

  • 9. Michelle Evans  |  May 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    And conversely, to let the world see just how hollow and bigoted the Pro 8 side is, with basically no legal leg to stand on. Transcripts are one thing, but actually watching them make fools of themselves is something they cannot stand for.

  • 10. JonT  |  May 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Mr. Who? :)

    Sorry. It's late – time for bed, but with a title of:

    President
    Institute for American Values

    I feel a little vomit in my throat. Definitely bedtime.

    Goodnight 😉

  • 11. Sagesse  |  May 24, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    The Judicial Conference Cooper refers to in his letter is the Judicial Conference of the United States.

    According to its website, "The Conference of Senior Circuit Judges was created by Congress in 1922, to serve as the principal policy making body concerned with the administration of the U.S. Courts. In 1948, Congress enacted section 331 of title 28, United States Code, changing the name to the Judicial Conference of the United States." It is the procedural rule-making body for the federal courts.
    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/JudicialCon

    From the Supreme Court ruling banning broadcast, the policy Cooper is referring to and quoting was published in 1996 based on a review done in 1994. The 9th District initiative is an attempt to recognize that the world has changed.

  • 12. Sagesse  |  May 25, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Text of Lieberman's DADT repeal amendment
    http://washingtonindependent.com/85609/the-text-o

  • 13. Rightthingtodo TX  |  May 25, 2010 at 12:11 am

    <a href="http://www.wgme.com/template/inews_wire/wires.regional.me/39deb020 -www.wgme.com.shtml” target=”_blank”>http://www.wgme.com/template/inews_wire/wires.reg…” target=”_blank”>-www.wgme.com.shtml

    off topic sorry

  • 14. Jim  |  May 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Violating the 1st Amendment?

    Dude, hyperbole is a wonderful thing, but you need to let it go. Court cases are rarely if ever broadcast. Hell, SCOTUS still forbids tape recorders in their proceedings.

    The fact is that the federal courts are just now investigating opening their cases to broadcast. This would have been one of the first. If anything, the pro8 side is asking that court rules remain unchanged.

  • 15. fiona64  |  May 25, 2010 at 4:04 am

    What none of these twits seem to grasp is that the far greater threat that comes from speaking publicly is aimed at those who are speaking IN FAVOR of LGBT people — not the other way around.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 16. fiona64  |  May 25, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Blankenhorn was the pro-8 side's worst witness in terms of their own case, and yet he was the one they put up as an "expert."

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 17. Bob  |  May 25, 2010 at 5:13 am

    For religious beliefs to be maintained , they MUST be shrouded in secracy, to be exposed to the light of day, is to infringe on Freedom of Religion.
    Bascially, they are accustomed to imposing those beliefs openly in the political arena, like they have done with prop8.

    But they are not accustomed to explaining how they arrive at that belief system. to expose it to the light of day is to destroy it.

    That's why this case is of historic proportions, it's been a long time since religious beliefs have been so openly questioned.

    Also making it a concern to the whole world, to see what kind of strangle hold religion has on the most powerfull country on the globe. theocracy/democracy

    The world is accustomed to discrimination/anielaiton of LGBT people, that right now is the status quo, but questioning the religious beliefs that support that discrimination is SHOCKING, and seen as a death threat to those who hold those beliefs, because they themselves have never questioned them.

  • 18. Andrea  |  May 25, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Oh, they know Fiona, they know.

    The tactic is called DARVO:
    Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

  • 19. fiona64  |  May 25, 2010 at 5:59 am

    SacBee is reporting no cameras will be permitted.
    http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/25/2775941/prop-8-j

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 20. Kathleen  |  May 25, 2010 at 6:07 am

    There is this statement on the court's website: https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/

    I would expect him to issue an official response on the docket, given that the letters of request and opposition went on the docket, but nothing yet.

  • 21. Joe  |  May 25, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Cockroaches usually do run when exposed to light.

  • 22. fiona64  |  May 25, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I wonder whether, by "simultaneous transmission," he means live-blogging?

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 23. Tigger  |  May 25, 2010 at 6:45 am

    On the other hand.. I'm not that depressed that the closing will not be televised. I don't want to give the other side any ammo on appeal whatsoever. While this case is groundbreaking and needed to be witnessed first hand by the world, I don't want the primitive savages on the other side to have any possibility of an error or prejudice claim on appeal.

  • 24. Kathleen  |  May 25, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I don't think that refers to live blogging. That portion of the statement is:

    "Simultaneous video transmission will be available in the ceremonial courtroom on the 19th Floor of the federal courthouse and for media representatives in the court’s media center on the first floor.

    There will be no simultaneous transmission of the proceedings outside the courthouse. "

    So I think "simultaneous transmission" refers to video transmission (as mentioned in the previous sentence).

    All the major media outlets, including AP, are reporting this statement on the website as Walker's response to their request. So, I'd take that to mean it's official.

  • 25. Richard A. Walter (s  |  May 25, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Well, we knew Cooper and the other D-I's were going to try and stop this when the request from the media first surfaced. And, as you can see, it did not take them long to throw their "poor us, we are the victims" stance up into the argument, did it?

  • 26. Bryan  |  May 26, 2010 at 5:52 am

    You got that right Tigger, in the famous (infamous?) words of Jack Sparrow "Take what ye can, give nothin' back" No wiggle-room allowed!

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