Who benefits from a courtroom camera?
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 23:11:27 GMT — The Casey Anthony murder trial played out in a Florida courtroom like a cbs drama series. From the tabloid testimony to the emotional verdict, the television audience saw everything as it happened. As a result, viewers felt more connected to the case. In Thursday TMs Facebook Story of the Day, KRCG's Meghan Lane spoke with a legal expert on the effects a camera in the courtroom has. Alyssa Bustamante's trial is scheduled for September 13 th and earlier this year both the prosecutor and Bustamante's lawyers asked the judge to consider a motion to bar television and radio coverage of the trial. But why? "This is a situation where the defendant is particularly vulnerable because of their age and the facts do really lend themselves to a way that could be distorted if cameras were there," James Lewis Parks Professor of Law at the University of Missouri Richard Reuben said. Doug Hennon is a criminal defense attorney and said a camera wont be able to tell the entire story. "Unless there is constant coverage as opposed to snippets of people's testimony it's difficult if not impossible to present to the viewing public an accurate picture of the entire trial," Hennon said. Both Hennon and Reuben agreed, having a camera in the courtroom can put added pressures on everyone. "I think in a lot of ways it can bring pressures into the case that in a lot of ways, if it wasn't there, they would just be deciding the case based on the evidence which was presented which is what they're supposed to do," Hennon said. Hennon said instead of relying on a camera in the courtroom, the public should see it first hand. "The only way for the public to really know what's going on is to attend the trial just like the jurors, they're there for every bit of it, so if they're going to get a true sense of what the case is really about, that's really the only way of doing it," Hennon said. Rueben on the other hand said a courtroom camera makes everything more transparent. That is exactly what inspires public confidence in the process when they can actually see the process work and I think the American public is a very good judge, Reuben said. Hennon said most courts allow the public to sit in on the proceedings but there are certain instances where a courtroom must be closed such as juvenile, adoption and custody proceedings