I have often cited Florida, which has the most open courtr00m-camera coverage policy in the country, as the model all states should adopt.
Here’s a Florida lawyer who also praises the Florida way.
(Cell Phone) Cameras in Florida Courtrooms, Celebrating Our State’s Proud Heritage of Open Government and Courts
Matthew D. Weidner posted that last Friday on his blog at http://mattweidnerlaw.com/blog/
In his piece, he cites Florida’s First Amendment Foundation and its mission statement, which is at http://www.floridafaf.org/.
Florida Supreme Court Communications Counsel Craig Waters, a central figure in the 2008 HBO movie, “Recount”, about the Gore-Bush presidential-election-vote recount, has said that courtroom-camera coverage has resulted in no reversals or other adverse consequences in the state’s more than three-decade history of allowing camera access to its courts.
Naysayers of the benefits of courtroom camera coverage point to now-former Florida Judge Larry Seidlin who made himself the news during the 2007 Anna Nicole Smith remains-custody hearing by weeping, cracking jokes and making incongruous comments about honoring troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seidlin was playing to the cameras, camera critics charged.
But as I argue in my Spring 2007 Judges’ Journal essay, “Florida Judge Shouldn’t be Courtroom Cameras’ Poster Child” http://www.anatomyofatrial.com/pages/images/FLJudgereCamerasPosterChild.jpg, the cameras in Seidlin’s courtroom did Florida residents a favor. If cameras had not been there, Floridians might never have known that he could have and was so needy for attention and notoriety.
Did Seidlin behave differently when cameras weren’t rolling? The vast majority of us will never know.