An Open Courtroom: Cameras in New York Courts

An Open Courtroom: Cameras in New York Courts

by New York State Committee


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On June 30, 1997, the experiment, initiated in 1987, that gave trial judges discretion to allow televised and still-camera coverage of civil and criminal trial court proceedings in New York State came to an end. After two years of investigation, a 12-member, state-appointed committee has issued its findings and recommendations on the question of cameras in New York courts. Their results are contained in An Open Courtroom.

This book offers: an introduction, executive summary; overview of the committee’s work; a summary of the current law; overview of camera laws in other states and in federal courts; summary of the committee’s record; the committee’s assessment and conclusions; recommendation; appendices which include the results of a jurist poll and the committee’s judicial survey, interviews, and other pertinent data; and a minority report/ dissent arguing against the committee’s recommendations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823218103
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 01/01/1997
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Executive Summaryxv
II.Over View of the Committee's Work5
III.Summary of Current Law9
A.Section 218 of the Judiciary Law9
1.Judicial Discretion9
2.Safeguards for Defendants in Criminal Proceedings and Parties in Civil Proceedings11
3.Safeguards for Witnesses11
4.Safeguards for Children13
5.Safeguards for Jurors13
6.Other Safeguards13
7.Pretrial Conference14
8.Equipment and Personnel Restrictions14
B.Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge15
IV.Over View of Camera Coverage Laws in Other States and in Federal Courts19
A.State Courts19
1.50-State Overview19
B.Federal Courts22
V.Summary of the Committee's Record27
A.Public Benefits27
1.Public Education about the Courts28
2.Judicial Accountability and Public Scrutiny of the Judicial System31
3.Cathartic and Deterrent Effects33
4.Other Benefits34
5.Opponents' Views36
a.Nature of Televised Coverage37
b.Effect on Witnesses39
c.Fair Trial Implications41
d.Privacy Concerns43
B.Compliance by Trial Judges and the Media44
1.Compliance by Trial Judges44
a.Testimony and Public Comment44
b.Results of the Committee's Judicial Survey46
c.Office of Court Administration Data49
2.Compliance by the Media49
C.Effect of Audio-Visual Coverage on the Conduct of Participants in Court Proceedings52
1.Effect on Jurors53
2.Effect on Witnesses58
3.Effect on Lawyers62
4.Effect on Judges64
a.Inside the Courtroom64
b.Outside the Courtroom67
VI.Committee's Assessment and Conclusions69
A.Public Benefits69
B.Compliance by Trial Judges and the News Media with the Safeguards of Section 218 of the Judiciary Law71
2.News Media74
C.Effect of Audio-Visual Coverage on the Conduct of Participants in Court Proceedings74
D.Defendant's Consent80
1.Cameras Should Be Permitted in New York State Courts on a Permanent Basis with All of the Safeguards of Current Law for Parties, Prospective Witnesses, Jurors, Crime Victims, and Other Trial Participants83
2.Defendant Consent Should Be a Prerequisite for Camera Coverage of Bail Hearings84
3.There Should Be No Separate Rule for Death Penalty Cases85
4.Judges Should Be Vigilant in Addressing the Safety and Privacy Concerns of Witnesses in Both Criminal and Civil Proceedings85
5.The Office of Court Administration Should Actively Monitor Camera-Covered Proceedings, Make Periodic Reports, and, If Necessary, Recommend Changes in Section 218 of the Judiciary Law and the Implementing Rules86
6.The Office of Court Administration Should Develop an Enhanced Judicial Training Program to Familiarize All Judges with the Applicable Statutory and Administrative Provisions and Safeguards88
A.Judicial Survey93
B.Marist Institute for Public Opinion Poll113
C.Judiciary Law, Section 218125
D.Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge133
E.California Rule of Court 980149
F.Overview of Camera Coverage Laws in the Fifty States157
G.Jury Consultant Interviews171
H.Office of Court Administration Data on News Media Applications for Audio-Visual Coverage of Court Proceedings175
I.Sample Monitoring Instrument for Camera-Experienced Lawyers191
J.Judicial Training Program Outline199
K.Selected Bibliography201
Minority Report207

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