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26 Hofstra L. Rev. 873 (1997-1998)
If Courts Are Open, Must Cameras Follow

handle is hein.journals/hoflr26 and id is 885 raw text is: IF COURTS ARE OPEN, MUST CAMERAS
Dolores K. Sloviter*
It has become a fact of the video age that every high-profile crimi-
nal trial is accompanied by a demand for live television coverage of the
proceedings. The spirited debate on the advisability of permitting live
television coverage of criminal trials has been fueled by the different
atmospheres that prevailed at the trials of O.J. Simpson, where live cov-
erage was permitted, and Timothy McVeigh, where it was not. It has
even been suggested that the pervasiveness of television during Simp-
son's highly publicized trial had a direct connection to his ultimate ac-
quittal for the murder of his former wife and her companion.
Inasmuch as no trial can be replicated in laboratory conditions, sci-
entific experimentation is not possible, and we thus have no empirical
data on the effect of television on a criminal trial from which to make
policy decisions. Not surprisingly, the absence of evidence has not left
us with a dearth of commentary and arguments on all sides of the dia-
* Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. These comments are
based on some portions of the 12th Annual Howard Kaplan Memorial Lecture given by Judge
Sloviter at Hofstra University School of Law on November 5, 1997. The Author wishes to thank
her law clerk, Michael B. DeSanctis, for his assistance in the preparation of this Article.
1. See S.L. Alexander, The Impact of California v. Simpson on Cameras in the Courtroom,
79 JUDIcATURE 169, 172 (1996) (The Simpson case has fueled a flurry of renewed attention to
the controversy over courtroom cameras .... ); Ronald J. Allen, The Simpson Affair, Reform of
the Criminal Justice Process, and Magic Bullets, 67 U. CoLO. L. REv. 989, 1011 (1996)
(discussing Judge Ito's conduct in the courtroom); Peter Arenella, Foreword: O.J. Lessons, 69 S.
CAL. L. REv. 1233, 1254-55 (1996) (discussing the effect of the O.J. Simpson trial on arguments
for cameras in the courtroom); Christo Lassiter, TV or Not TV-That Is the Question, 86 J. CRIM.
L. & CRI MNOLOGY 928, 981 (1996) (noting that the O.J. Simpson trial was a trial which eclipses
both surveys and speculation to demonstrate the disastrous reality of cameras in the courtroom);
Kelli L. Sager & Karen N. Frederiksen, Televising the Judicial Branch: In Furtherance of the
Public's First Amendment Rights, 69 S. CAL. L. REv. 1519, 1519 (1996) (criticizing cameras in
the courtroom in the O.J. Simpson trial); Gerald F. Uelmen, The Trial as a Circus: Inherit the
Wind, 30 U.S.F. L. REV. 1221, 1222 (1996) (noting the current movement to ban television cam-
eras from the courtrooms in the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial).

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