Advertisement
 
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

State judge: Open courts to cameras

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - Updated: 5:10 PM

ALBANY (AP) -- The state's top judge says advances in technology make it more important than ever to open courtrooms to cameras so New Yorkers can see for themselves how justice works.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who presides at the Court of Appeals where arguments are routinely broadcast online, is calling for a change in state law so people understand how laws are being interpreted, rights determined, criminals punished and tax dollars spent for the courts and legal system.

"To close our courtrooms to cameras in an age that we have today, with the technology we have with the iPhones and the pads that you see everything in the world, and for the people in New York to not be able to see what happens in our courtrooms doesn't make any sense," Lippman said. "We have to educate people about the critical work that goes on in the courts. They have a right to know about it. They pay the taxes. And yet they can't see it."

New York lawmakers 25 years ago approved camera coverage of court proceedings on an experimental basis but the experiment ended 10 years later when the Legislature didn't vote to continue it.

While some judges have permitted still photographers and video cameras on a limited case-by-case basis, Lippman said access is cumbersome and requires judges to navigate an outdated law. Passed 60 years ago, it prohibits audiovisual coverage of public proceedings where witnesses are subpoenaed or otherwise compelled to testify.

The New York State Defenders Association opposes courtroom cameras, saying broadcasting threatens the right to a fair trial because of adverse publicity, that most states impose restrictions and that there's no First Amendment right to photograph or televise inside courtrooms.

At a panel discussion last year in Washington, D.C., judges and U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. said they were concerned about the chilling effect on potential witnesses, especially those who might be regarded as snitches. Another concern is undercover investigators.

Grant Jacquith, first assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of New York, said the rules generally bar cameras in federal courthouses, though the courtrooms are generally open to the public.

"Our office is concerned with both the First Amendment right of access, the public right to know, and the integrity of investigations and the safety of people who conduct them, the safety of people who come forward and tell the truth," he said.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Saturday, February 13, 2016

    Four face charges after fights at school
    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Concerns spark resignations
    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Officials express concern wage hike will hurt business
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Family begins endowment to help Make-A-Wish kids
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Donations lining up to help develop park in East End
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    GASD narrows superintendent field to three
    Friday, February 12, 2016

    Council plans to sell some foreclosures separately
    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Fonda, Fultonville face a deficit in the sewer budget
    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Gloversville man charged with murdering his wife
    Thursday, February 11, 2016

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook