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Congressmen introduce bill to allow cameras in federal courts

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Congressmen introduce bill to allow cameras in federal courts 04/21/97 WASHINGTON, D.C.--In early April, federal lawmakers introduced legislation that would…

Congressmen introduce bill to allow cameras in federal courts

04/21/97

WASHINGTON, D.C.–In early April, federal lawmakers introduced legislation that would allow federal court proceedings to be televised at the discretion of the judge.

Reps. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) proposed a bill in the House of Representatives that would permit photographing, electronic recording and televising of federal trials. Schumer said that the audiences have a right to be informed about the judicial system and this bill, labeled the “Sunshine in the Courtroom Act,” would “let the sunshine in.”

Although 48 states currently have legislation that allows state court trials to be broadcast, all states give judges the power to block any portion of a court proceeding. Federal courts rules bar courts from allowing criminal trials to be televised.

The bill also requires the Judicial Conference of the United States to establish a set of guidelines for judges to follow in deciding when to allow cameras to be present.

Schumer said the new legislation will educate the public and eliminate misconceptions of an “often intimidating legal system.” (H.R. 1260)