25
Sep
10

Another Trial Run Looms for Cameras in Federal Courts

Some federal trials could be televised under a plan approved by the U.S. Judicial Conference.

The conference — the policy-making arm of the U.S. judiciary — voted for a pilot project that would allow video recordings of civil trials. Proceedings would be recorded only if the participants in the case consent. The faces of jurors would not be recorded.

The plan, which was approved in a closed meeting, would not affect the Supreme Court, which has been the subject of bipartisan criticism in Congress for keeping its proceedings off-camera. During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in June, several senators, including Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the high court would benefit from televised proceedings.

U.S. Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle of Washington, D.C., said the project arose from interest among judges who wanted to try broadcasting trials. He said the conference was also responding to interest among members of Congress who have pushed to open courtrooms to television broadcasts.

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