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|Blagojevich's Corruption Trial Can't be Filmed
|We'll never forget the day we gathered around the TV to watch former Gov. Rod Blagojevich take the stand in his federal corruption trial - oh, wait! That won't happen, as cameras and microphones are not allowed in federal court, nor are they allowed at the state level in Illinois.
Doug Lee, an attorney based in Dixon, Ill., has made media law one of his specialties. He is now a writer and legal commentator for the First Amendment Center's website.
"Folks in the media have to continue to bang the drum" about cameras in the courtroom. There was a certain period of time in which folks in the media thought, well, gee whiz, I can't both be objective and advocate. As those years went by, the presumption of openness kind of faded away, as technology would have allowed that openness, and then O. J. set the whole thing back."
Lee says Judge Lance Ito lost control of the O. J. Simpson case, but the perception remains that the media coverage was the cause of the case becoming a spectacle and somehow that it was the cause of the verdict.
Defendants have the right to a public trial. But Lee says even in the 21st Century, despite the ability to transmit the proceedings via radio, television, and the Internet, it's not happening. "The judicial system traditionally hasn't done a good job of keeping up with technology. The U. S. Supreme Court, for example, they feel like they're really doing something if they make an audio feed available on the same day. That's not even radio technology!"
Lee says he's just as concerned about keeping the identities of jurors secret, saying it's a "slippery slope" to concealing the identities of witnesses: "There are a lot of witnesses who, I presume, will testify in this case less than voluntarily."
(Illinois Radio Network)
|06 12 10 by Newsroom
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