Many judges have positive view of cameras
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal judges participating in an experiment with cameras in their courtrooms, viewed the cameras positively, for the most part, according to a report released in November.
The Federal Judicial Center report evaluated the federal cameras in courts pilot program, which is being tested in civil cases heard by six district and two appellate courts until June 1994.
According to the report, most judges said that educating the public and enhancing news coverage were the greatest benefits of the experimental program. Some judges saw attorneys and themselves become more courteous and vigilant to proper courtroom procedures as a result of the camera’s presence.
While the majority of television coverage was used in evening news broadcasts, Court-TV and C-SPAN broadcast 32 proceedings during the experiment.
The majority of judges found that the electronic media’s presence was not distracting. However, one judge warned that what he characterized as “left-wing bias” of the press would lead to “deliberate misunderstanding … exacerbated by those who favor a complete leadership restructuring of America’s basic institutions.”
The Judicial Conference, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, will decide in March whether to continue the project and extend it to more courts.