Will a Broadcasted Trial Hurt or Help My Case?

by | Aug 20, 2014 | Law

Defendants sometimes wonder whether it’s smart to allow their trial to be televised. The decision to allow videography is made by the court, but the accused have a right to protest against cameras in the courtroom if they can demonstrate that it damages their right to a fair trial. The highly publicized O.J. Simpson trial is often referred to in this debate, but this case was more of an anomaly than anything else. This article presents the pros and cons of allowing a broadcasted trial, from the point of view of the defendant.

Advantages of a Video Recorded Trial

1. • If the public finds the trial entertaining, more people will follow the case, which can help to generate public support for the defendant. New technology and video camera tricks enable boring trials to be transformed into exciting events.

2. • The defendant’s attentiveness to the proceedings can be enhanced by displaying the video, with real-time transcript, on monitors within the courtroom.

3. • If a defendant is confident in his/her innocence and wants every word of the trial to matter, then videography enables the court reporter to re-listen to the trial and capture words that may have been inaudible originally.

4. • A witness’ initial reactions and emotional response can be captured through a video interview prior to the courtroom. This could either hurt or help the defendant, depending on the witness’ involvement in the incident and the defendant’s innocence or guilt.

Disadvantages of a Video Recorded Trial

1. • The primary disadvantage for a defendant in a televised trial is that the media can edit the video in a biased manner so as to influence public opinion. This could either be in favor of the defendant, or against. If you believe you have a sympathetic story and that the press would show it as such, then this could actually be an advantage.

2. • Some judges are elected into their position, which makes them more concerned with the public’s opinion about their performance. The press can take advantage of this and use video of the trial to pressure the judge to make a certain ruling.

3. • The privacy of the defendant (and victims and witnesses) will not be respected.

4. • Once witnesses know that they will be recorded by video, they may become nervous and/or unwilling to tell the full truth or to cooperate with the lawyers.

5. • If there is an appeal or retrial after a case has been broadcasted, it may be difficult to acquire an impartial jury.

The benefits seem to outweigh the disadvantages simply because the disadvantages do not necessarily damage the outcome. Videographers in Baltimore, DC, and Virginia are highly trained experts in recording federal court cases. Lower courts across the country also use videography quite often. Consider the unique circumstances of your own case and how it might be affected by the use of videography.

Gore Brothers has been providing quality videographers in Baltimore and the surrounding areas since 1961. Visit http://www.gorebrothers.com or call 1-800-734-5292 for more information.

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