Judge finds mandated broadcast link does not violate rights
COLORADO–In mid-July, a federal judge approved a closed-circuit television broadcast of the Oklahoma City bombing trial. The broadcast, which was mandated by a new federal law, will originate from the Denver courtroom and will be shown to a limited audience in a federal courtroom in Oklahoma City.
Federal District Court Judge Richard Matsch ruled that the law requiring closed-circuit television coverage of all federal trials moved more than 350 miles from the original venue does not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights. Matsch also ruled that Congress did not exceed its authority in enacting the law, part of the anti- terrorism bill passed in April.
Only persons who have a compelling interest in the trial, including survivors of the blast and the families of victims and survivors, will be able to view the Oklahoma City broadcast.
Judge Matsch said he will allow one television camera with a fixed-focus panoramic view in the back of the courtroom, possibly mounted inside the rear wall.
Defense attorneys for suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols objected to allowing cameras in the Denver courtroom, according to accounts in The Washington Post and The New York Times. McVeigh’s attorney argued that cameras could influence jurors and witnesses and hamper McVeigh’s ability to consult with his lawyers. Nichols’s attorney said that the law was unconstitutional because it usurps the power of the courts. (U.S. v. McVeigh)