9th Circuit Backs Cameras in Trial Courts
Posted May 11, 2009 6:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Cameras could be rolling into the federal trial courts under a proposal by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco.
The 9th Circuit has asked the U.S. Judicial Conference to consider a plan to allow cameras to record and broadcast federal nonjury trials at the discretion of the trial judge, the Daily Journal reports (sub. req.).
The plan submitted by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski notes proposed federal legislation, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, S. 657, that would require camera access. "While we believe in giving trial judges authority to permit access, we believe this is better done by court rule than by legislation," Kozinski wrote. "One advantage, of course, would be that courts could experiment and adjust the rules in light of experience, whereas legislation would be more difficult to modify in light of experience and local conditions."
The Judicial Conference's committee on court administration will consider the plan, the story says. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, the chair of the committee, told the Daily Journal his group will carefully consider the proposal. "I'm not sure if the time is ripe," he said, "but our minds are open."