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High court opens its hearings for Internet audio access

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    NMU         MISSISSIPPI         Broadcasting         Feb 14, 2001    

High court opens its hearings for Internet audio access

  • The state Supreme Court, which does not allow cameras of any kind in its courtroom, moves toward live audio coverage of its oral arguments.

One of the remaining two states that prohibits camera coverage in its courtrooms will soon offer a live audio feed of oral arguments on the Internet.

“We’re doing an awful lot to open up to the public via the Internet all the workings of the court,” said Steve Kirchmayr, court administrator for the Supreme Court of Mississippi.

The selection of a vendor is expected by Feb. 23 with completion of the project in the next few months. The arguments will be posted as a live feed, but Kirchmayr said the court currently does not have the bandwidth to archive all the arguments. People may request a disk with a specific argument for the cost of the duplication.

While only arguments heard at the Supreme Court level will be broadcast, the court is looking to expand the coverage to the lower courts. Kirchmayr said the court may also publish the court docket, briefs and transcripts online. Currently, only the decisions from the state Supreme Court are available on the Internet.

“We also will have the capabilities to allow the TV stations to plug in and carry live arguments via TV if the courts allow us to do that,” Kirchmayr said.

All cameras are forbidden from trial and appellate courtrooms in the state. Mississippi joins South Dakota as the only states with such a policy.

EH


© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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