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Supreme Court presents live audio of oral arguments

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  1. Court Access

    NMU         SOUTH DAKOTA         Broadcasting         Nov 22, 2002    

Supreme Court presents live audio of oral arguments

  • The state Supreme Court announced this week that all Supreme Court oral arguments will be broadcast live on the Internet and archived on its site.

The state Supreme Court on Nov. 18 announced it will broadcast its oral arguments live on the Web.

Response to the Supreme Court’s decision has been positive and has garnered quite a bit of interest, said Supreme Court Director of Public Information Jill Gusso.

According to David Bordewyk, General Manager of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, the move makes it easier to for reporters and attorneys to observe court sessions. The state’s two largest newspapers are 200 miles from the state’s capital, Pierre, where many of the hearings take place, Bordewyk said. Gusso added that the Supreme Court courtroom has a capacity of only 20 persons.

The Supreme Court holds two terms of court at different sites around the state each year and the court has promised that the streaming audio will be available on the Internet regardless of where the cases are heard, Bordewyk said.

Gusso added that the oral arguments will be archived by the end of each day.

The effort to broadcast live was spearheaded by Chief Justice David Gilbertson and Justice John K. Konenkamp, Gusso said. Although the court has just recently publically announced the live audio broadcasts, the court has experimented with the idea since August. This week’s sessions marks the third term of court that has been broadcast live.

South Dakota allowed cameras into its Supreme Court just last year, making it the 49th state to allow cameras in some level of court, Bordewyk said. The newspaper association is now pushing for camera access in the state’s trial courts, he added.

Audio and sometimes visual recording of court proceedings is available in several other states. Although these recordings are always broadcast by the courts themselves, audio recordings can be found on the Internet for Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Mississippi and Idaho.

“Maybe the next time, [they’ll] put in video cameras,” said Bordewyk, “which would be an excellent step as well.”

AU


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