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Media appeals camera ban in Jackson case

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Media appeals camera ban in Jackson case

  • A group of media organizations argued that cameras at Michael Jackson’s arraignment tomorrow will help ensure the public interest of fairness in the case.

Jan. 15, 2004 — Media lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr. filed an appeal with the Santa Barbara Superior Court yesterday on Judge Rodney S. Melville’s ban of cameras from singer Michael Jackson’s arraignment on child molestation charges tomorrow.

Boutrous, who is representing a group of media organizations, argued that TV was the most effective medium used to ensure a fair trial. He further cited the recent swell of public support for Jackson, and said a potentially chaotic scene of supporters eager to see the trial could be avoided with the presence of one camera.

Melville announced the ban Tuesday.

Boutrous suggested that one TV camera and one still photographer would “ease the pressure and intensity of people seeking to enter the courtroom” for Jackson’s arraignment.

On Tuesday, Melville said the victim’s privacy, “preserving the security and dignity of the court,” and “maintaining public trust and confidence in the judicial system” were among the chief reasons for his decision.

The California Rules of the Court states that media coverage — including photography — is granted at the presiding judge’s discretion, but only after the news organization files a request to cover the case at least five court days in advance.

Jackson will be arraigned tomorrow on seven felony charges of child molestation, and two felony charges of using an intoxicant to help seduce a minor.

(California v. Jackson; Media Counsel: Theodore Boutrous Jr., Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles) LH

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