With all due respect to Judge Judy, I’m not talking about tv judge shows that portray “justice,” but rather our local courtrooms broadcasting the events of our court system.  Many states and local courts do allow cameras in the courtrooms, but few actually have access to the court room proceedings.  With new technology, those who do show up to court houses can usually tweet, blog or email about the daily proceedings if they so choose. That being said, each court has its own rules about cell phones, laptops, ipads and other pieces of device.

What Is Massachusetts Doing To Open Up The Court System?

A program called OpenCourt has begun to allow those in the community, and around the world, to witness court room proceedings.  OpenCourt is an experimental project run by WBUR (Boston’s NPR news station) in conjunction with Quincy District Court.  OpenCourt is consists of a video camera to stream the court’s First Session courtroom as well as wifi for journalists and bloggers to transmit stories, post reports and whatever else they may need to do. (OpenCourt)

What Is The Potential Problems With Having Cameras In The Courtroom?

The goal of OpenCourt is to allow other counties to see what a modernized courtroom looks like and to help resolve potential issues that come along with introducing technology into the justice system.  For example, the court had training sessions for lawyers to “show them dead zones in the courtroom where they can have conversations that won’t be picked up by microphones, but some are still concerned that their private talks with clients could be recorded and come back to haunt them.”  Others, like the Norfolk District Attorney has said he is concerned that “the cameras could discourage victims of domestic violence or stalking from going to court to seek protections and that information about gang investigations, including witness identifications, could become public.”  These concerns seem fairly reasonable, but it is important to note that current court proceedings are, generally, open to the public at large.  The only difference is that proceedings are now being disseminated through the internet.

What do you think?  Should court proceedings be broadcast over the internet?

 

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