O.J. media coverage taints cameras-in-courts bill
MARYLAND–The sponsor of a bill to allow Maryland criminal trials to be televised withdrew the legislation in late March, saying that “misconceptions about how TV broadcast the O.J. Simpson trial” had hurt its chances of passage.
Del. Gilbert Genn (D-Montgomery) had introduced the bill at the request of news media and with the support of a number of state judges. He acknowledged that he did not have enough votes on the measure to draw it out of the House Judiciary Committee, but recommended the issue be referred for summer study.
Genn also said the proposal was hurt by opposition from prosecutors, the public defender’s office and victims’ rights groups, according to Carol Bowers, co-president of the Maryland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Bowers said, however, that the Genn bill contained provisions to protect witnesses and would have required the consent of both parties before a trial could be televised. (H.B.609)