Cameras in the Courtroom

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Cameras in the Courtroom

Can you get a fair trial in this country? That is just one question asked when cameras are allowed in the courtroom. In most states cameras and recording devices are allowed in both trial and appellate courts. But the main issue today is whether cameras should be allowed in the courtroom during the pretrial phase of a hearing.

Most people in society believe that cameras should be kept out of the pretrial phase of the judicial system because of how they can influence a case during this delicate phase and cause more problems for the U.S. federal and state court system.

"Yes I think cameras can influence the court. People begin to play to the camera. They become more media savvy, especially in a high profile case," said Dr. Leigh Browning, director of broadcasting at West Texas A&M University, "on the other hand, they provide the public with better information on proceedings in the courtroom."

One argument is that if cameras are allowed in the courtroom they could cause problems. The defense or the prosecution could have problems conducting a fair trial, such as in the Scott Peterson case.

Fortunately for Peterson, murder cases in this country are decided through a trial by jury, not based on public sentiment or exaggerated media claims. But when defense attorney Mark Geragos promised to change public opinion about Peterson's guilt, Court TV proclaimed that that was about as likely as "June snow in Modesto". In fact, the New York Post, when breaking news of the Peterson arrest in April, showed a handcuffed Peterson accompanied by the headline, "Monster in Chains." How can any "monster" get 2/Cameras in the Courtroom

a fair trial? The media is treating Peterson like it did O.J. Simpson in 1994. His guilt is all but assured. The fact that there is no hard evidence implicating Peterson doesn't seem to matter. With cameras in the courtroom the public could be influenced by the prosecutions attempt to damage their clients case by...
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