Cameras Go Untested in Columbus Federal Court Because of Lack of Litigant Interest; Do Viewers Care?

A pilot program to evaluate cameras in the federal courts is suffering from a lack of interest in Columbus, Ohio.

Federal courts in Columbus and 13 other districts are participating in the program in which civil proceedings are recorded if both sides agree. The recordings are then posted on a website after a review by a federal judge. In the first year of the three-year experiment, eight of the 14 courts have recorded proceedings, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Columbus is not among them.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost is one of three Columbus judges who volunteered for the program. “No one is interested in having their cases videoed,” he told the newspaper. In Cleveland, on the other hand, five trials have been recorded.

In Chicago, the first videotaped proceeding was a pretrial hearing this August in a patent infringement case involving a toilet flush system, the Chicago Tribune reports. One of the lawyers, Rick Florsheim, isn’t concerned about the taping. “I am not the least bit self-conscious because I am not expecting a lot of people to watch a three-hour [patent] hearing,” Florsheim told the Tribune. “My wife will want to watch it.”

The district with the most videotaped civil trials—12 in all—is Kansas. Litigants there are told the proceedings will be videotaped unless they opt out, the Dispatch says.

In all, 39 videotaped proceedings have been posted online; they have been viewed more than 28,000 times, WOUB reports.

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