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Tag: Jonathan Turley

Legal Experts Weigh in on Supreme Court Banning Cameras

By Julia Rosen

Whenever I want legal analysis of a SCOTUS ruling, I turn to the only lawyer in my family for his opinion. It just so happens that the cousin in question is Professor Jonathan Turley, who often shows up on your Tee-Vee talking about the law.

So last night I shot him an email about the extremely disappointing ruling by SCOTUS not to allow the trial to be televised or even put up delayed on YouTube. Jonathan has been a long-time advocate for opening up the courtroom for filming, contending that constitution “clearly states a principle of open, public proceedings”. He ended up posting about it over at his blog:

This is normally a matter left to the discretion of a trial judge. To be sure, there are always concerns about the safety of witnesses, but those concerns are routinely addressed by positioning the camera to avoid showing a witness when there is a credible fear. In this case, conservatives have said that witnesses will fear a backlash for opposing same-sex marriage and even physical attacks. Yet, the names of these witnesses and their identifying information will not be sealed.

I disagree with the Court’s ruling, which will now bar the broadcast of one of the most important civil rights challenges of the decade. It not only disregards the discretion given to the trial court, but ignored that fact that this pilot program was approved after long debate last month by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It was left to the trial judges to order such taping in non-jury, civil trials.

What we are left with is that the defense argued that a small number of individuals testifying feared harassment, but none of them actually stepped forward to say that themselves. Because of that fear, which as Jonathan states could be mitigated by camera positioning or the like, all of the testimony from the vast majority of those on the stand during this trial is blocked from public viewing. (more…)

44 Comments January 14, 2010