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Cameras in Court Rooms Distort the Trial Process - Essay Example

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Cameras in Court Rooms: Do they Distort the Trial Process Introduction The representation of order and law in the media has for a long time been a debatable subject (Hernandez, 1996, p. 17). This debate has recently been increased by television coverage of trial proceedings of Louise Woodward and OJ Simpson…
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Cameras in Court Rooms Distort the Trial Process
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Download file to see previous pages In UK, citizens do not only watch parliament proceedings but also court proceedings without having to attend in person. On the other hand, they also watch debates in the House of Lords and House of Commons on terrestrial television. In UK, trials of well-published are often televised as either news reports or separate documentaries (Brill, 1996, p.51). A channel that only airs criminal justice system’s footage, Court TV, is normally made available in the court rooms to inform the citizens of proceedings of a certain case. O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was fully filmed and watched by millions of audience. This made the lawyers and judges that were involved in this case become international celebrities. Another famous case trial that was filmed and watched by all citizens was that of Louise Woodward – a case of murder committed in the United States (Mason, 2000, p. 26). Pictures of her appearance in the courtroom were transmitted in Britain. That resulted into immense public reaction. A campaign by the national media raised enough money to pay for her sub sequential appeal and defense costs. The televised emotive pictures made the public to sympathize with her, hence the assistance. Interesting issues concerning discrimination, individual liberties and constitutional rights are raised in this topic. Other international trials have also embraced the significance of audio visual technology (Mason, 2000, p. 26). International criminal tribunals that were concerned with former Yugoslavian dissolution and Rwandan atrocities were also televised, thus gaining mixed reactions from the public. Arguments Supporting Camera Use in the Court Television as Educator; Learning the Law A democratic society allows its citizen’s to access court proceedings. Anyone has a right to sit in the public gallery, watch the whole or part of the trial, or appeal. In UK, citizens are often free to attend even then House of Lords, similar to the way citizens are free to watch the proceedings of the Supreme Court in the United States. Therefore, there is no constitutional barrier that bars court trials from being televised. However, it is difficult for non-lawyers to understand court events. Television coverage normally include commentaries that make it easier for citizens to understand thus making the watching of a trial an educational experience that is even more profitable. In the OJ Simpsons case, camera men were frequently cautioned against taking shots of the messenger. This case has since created a knee-jerk sort of reaction. However, watching all court proceedings is limited during the week as people are busy in their work places. Attending court proceedings in person is every expensive while public gallery is limited in space. People have to arrive very early in courts to attend well-publicized trials in order to secure a seat. Citizens should not enjoy their democratic rights by making such sacrifices of money and time. On the other hand, court proceedings should be televised just like parliament proceedings. This is because laws are usually made in parliament and the role of court is only developing them. Precedent doctrine is normally applied in countries that use common law. Therefore, outcome of subsequent cases can be determined by earlier reasoning. Consequently, court decisions could equally impact on people’s lives just like just like parliament decisions. It is the right of all citizens to know these decisions. Moreover, even though all cases do ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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