Opening Statements Snafu Haiku

Delay box a must.

A juror caught on camera.

 Asleep at the switch.


This haiku so understates the drama surrounding and birthed by this violation. Some of it is captured on page 74 of Anatomy of a Trial. The resulting consequences, which included tears, pouting and gnashing of teeth, is recounted on pages 45 and 46. (I know, the consequences come before the violation in the book, but that was a result of how the book is organized.)

Trial judge, Lance Ito, had required that Court TV, which provided the courtroom pool camera, delay the camera signal for 7 seconds before it was broadcast.  The idea was for Court TV lawyers who knew the court rules to monitor the delay mechanism and prevent violations, such as showing jurors. The violation, which occurred during the prosecution’s opening statements,was almost a comedy of errors. A less-experienced Court TV cameraman was substituting for the regular veteran who was out sick. An alternate juror leaned forward into the camera range. The person Court TV had assigned to monitor the delayed signal apparently wasn’t watching it. The result was a suspension in the regularly scheduled proceedings for a contentious hearing, during which defense and prosecuting attorneys switched their positions on whether cameras should be allowed to cover the trial, and Ito being caught in the no-win middle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s