February 7, 2011: Arguments for televised trial proceedings

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Offline ignisaeternus

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Imagine that: Feb 7th 2011, the judge will hear arguments about possibly televising the trial proceedings.

I had to laugh: are there any trial related events that do not have a glaring 7 connections?
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Offline shelby61

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 25, 2011, 10:20:09 PM
I bet that they will televise these proceedings because it will be the only way to show the TRUTH and how corrupt the legal system really is... it will be interesting.  I don't see why they wouldn't televise them.  Also, they haven't even selected the jury - or set down court time to interview potential jurors...seems rather quick to me for that process... maybe there will be no jury.
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Offline ignisaeternus

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 25, 2011, 10:31:32 PM
Maybe this will be like Bashir vs Mike's cameras.  What we are shown vs what really happens.  
Or, maybe someone wants to make sure we get to see it all from the start- which starts at jury selection (and thus the ruling about whether things can be televised or not has to be in place).
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Offline bec

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 12:09:39 AM
@Ig, where did you get this information?

It almost has to be televised... doesn't it?  8-)
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Offline MJonmind

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 12:36:10 AM
How in the world are they going to find unbiased people for the jury?
This is going to be an incredible TV saga!
I remember when the whole OJ thing was constantly on the News, I was so sick of it. But this I will enjoy, knowing all the background and people involved.
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Offline bec

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 12:46:17 AM
Quote from: "MJonmind"
How in the world are they going to find unbiased people for the jury?
This is going to be an incredible TV saga!
I remember when the whole OJ thing was constantly on the News, I was so sick of it. But this I will enjoy, knowing all the background and people involved.

I don't know. Who has never heard of or have an opinion about Michael Jackson?
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Offline all4loveandbelieve

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 08:11:01 PM
Let the games begin... :lol:
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Offline ignisaeternus

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 09:43:57 PM
Quote from: "bec"
@Ig, where did you get this information?

It almost has to be televised... doesn't it?  8-)
Every source that was in the court room yesterday- when the dates were announced, MJJC among them. I was in twitter all morning from work... ;)

What will be interesting to see is if the defense will argue against televising. :)

Also, I wish I knew who brougt the issue forward.
Greatest Show on Earth, indeed...staying tuned!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired."
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Offline reasonables+luvs+MJ

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 09:55:49 PM
When time will it start?
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Offline bec

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 26, 2011, 11:15:57 PM
Quote from: "ignisaeternus"
Quote from: "bec"
@Ig, where did you get this information?

It almost has to be televised... doesn't it?  8-)
Every source that was in the court room yesterday- when the dates were announced, MJJC among them. I was in twitter all morning from work... ;)

What will be interesting to see is if the defense will argue against televising. :)

Also, I wish I knew who brougt the issue forward.
Greatest Show on Earth, indeed...staying tuned!

Yes I've seen the 2/7 date mentioned a couple times other places since this post, you were just the first to clue me in so I was eager to read more.

I don't expect the defense to oppose tv... why, what are you getting at ig?
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Offline curls

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 27, 2011, 08:05:36 AM
If MJ is controling things then I would think having the trial televised would be the ideal way to get the world's attention. Is it unreasonable of me to suspect that many of the inconsistencies/clues we have followed will be explained in court or at least highlighted for EVERYONE to see. Having the trial televised gets it out to the world.

If MJ is not controling things then who knows, maybe TPTB will decide not to televise because they want the world to forget about MJ, not have him brought back into living rooms across the globe (which is of course where he rightfully belongs!)

I'm still undecided about how much control MJ has over current events. I veer from thinking he is in complete control to wondering if he just set the wheels in motion in 2009 and is watching, as we are, how it all plays out.

Interesting times!
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Offline ASCENSION

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 27, 2011, 08:45:48 AM
We have another 7 in this saga!  :lol:
 

07/02/2011
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Offline ignisaeternus

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 27, 2011, 09:43:34 AM
Quote from: "ASCENSION"
We have another 7 in this saga!  :lol:
 

07/02/2011

We sure do! Like I said, funny how all dates seem to line up like that... PURE coincidence? I think not! :lol:
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Offline MJTruth77

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: January 29, 2011, 06:31:11 PM
I hope we get a televised trial.  And this is probably a stupid question but has any high profile trials ever been televised?
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Offline paula-c

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: February 01, 2011, 06:53:33 PM
It would be nice to see the trial by television

Offline hesouttamylife

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: February 05, 2011, 08:12:47 PM
I don’t know if the trial will be televised, but I ran across this information that I agree with totally.
http://http://www.alandershowitz.com/publications/docs/televisingtrials.html



Televise Trials and Appeals
by Alan M. Dershowitz
©2002
 
            As a general rule, legal proceedings should be televised.  This conclusion flows from the premise that legal proceedings should be open to the public, and today’s technology permits the widest possible public to view their courts in action.  There may, of course, be some cases, or parts of cases, that are appropriately closed to the public.  Neither national security nor the rights of vulnerable children or crime victims need be compromised, so long as there is a compelling case for privacy that outweighs the public’s right to see and evaluate its legal system.  In such extraordinary cases, television should not be permitted in the courtroom, but neither should print journalists nor members of the general public.
 
            Are there any cases in which the public and the print media should be permitted to attend but television should be excluded?  Perhaps, but they are clearly the exception and should never become the rule.  The case against televising trials that are otherwise open to the public and the print media, rests, at bottom, on elitist assumptions:  namely, that the broad television-watching public is incapable of fully understanding and fairly assessing the operation of our legal system without the guidance of professional journalists; and that an untutored viewing public will pressure the courts into arriving at popular, rather than principled, verdicts.  Similar arguments were made against televising the deliberations of Congress and other legislative bodies, and these arguments have now been resoundingly rejected by the court of public opinion.  There are, to be sure, considerable differences between the legislative and judicial processes.  The former is supposed to be democratic, whereas the latter is supposed to be somewhat more professional and elitist, despite the role of the jury (which in Great Britain has been diminished somewhat over the years).  Yet both branches of government are ultimately subject to popular accountability in a democracy, and the public should be as informed as possible about the operations of the judicial system.
 
            The televising of trials is particularly important in controversial cases with a widespread public interest.  Despite massive criticism, the televising of the OJ Simpson case can be counted as a moderate success.  Those who watched the case on television were far less surprised by the unpopular verdict than those who merely read about it in the newspapers or watched summaries on the evening television news.  Televising that trial turned many viewers into instant experts with strong views about the inadequacy of our adversarial system as a search for truth.  It helped some to understand that a criminal trial is not simply a scientific search for truth, but rather a complex effort at balancing truth-determination with fairness, privacy and other important constitutional values.  As both a lawyer and a commentator in that case, its television coverage taught me that we have much work yet to do in educating the public about the competing values inherent in our adversarial system of justice.  We should willingly take on that challenge, rather than pretending it does not exist.  I have no doubt that the televising of many state trials since the Simpson case has increased the level of knowledge and sophistication most American’s have about our legal system.  It has also made instant celebrities out of many of the lawyers who participated in the case.  The irony is that the lawyers who lost the case were more popular than those who won it, because they were perceived as being on the right side, while the winners were seen as being on the wrong side.  Both of the lead prosecutors stopped practicing law following the verdict and became “television personalities”.
 
            Our United States Supreme Court has been adamant in refusing to allow the televising of trials or appeals.  Until recently, the Justices did not even allow the live audio broadcasting of arguments, though they did permit archival audiotaping.  In the landmark case of Bush v. Gore - - the case that effectively ended the Presidential election of 2000 - - the Justices finally relented and permitted the real time audio transmission of the final arguments.  It was a good first step, but many Americans wondered why the Justices were prepared to be only heard but not seen.  Today’s television cameras require no special lighting and can be placed discreetly behind walls so as not to interfere with courtroom proceedings.  It was important for the public to be able to see their justices in operation, especially in so politicized a case, where so many Americans were appropriately critical of the Court’s ultimate decision.  Bush v. Gore was a wonderful civics lesson, but it was somewhat incomplete because the television cameras were excluded.
 
            Now there is a motion pending in the Federal District Court that will be trying Zacarias Moussaoui for alleged complicity in the terrorist attacks of September 11th.  Although a judicial rule prohibits the televising of any federal criminal trial, the lawyers for Court TV are challenging that rule as unconstitutional.  I am a frequent anchor person and commentator on Court TV, and so my views in this regard may well be influenced by this role.  But I have long advocated television in the courtroom, and I believe that the Moussaoui case presents a perfect example of a trial that should be televised.  The defendant in that case wants the trial televised, but the government opposes it.  Some believe that the government’s opposition demonstrates the weakness of its case against Moussaoui.  Justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done - - especially in cases of great public interest.
 
            In the United States, cases are tried in the courthouse, on the courthouse steps, on late night TV talk shows.  Both prosecutors and defense attorneys, spin their cases.  It is widely believed that winning a case in the court of public opinion helps to win the case in the court of law.  In that context, there can be little doubt that televising trials is a positive step, because the camera in the courtroom transmits the actual evidence without the spin.  In federal cases where cameras in the court room are forbidden, but courthouse press conferences and TV appearances are permitted, the viewing public often gets spin without substance.
 
            In Great Britain, the rules and traditions reduce the amount of out of court spin - at least by the lawyers involved in the case.  But with the internationalization of trial coverage, the trend, even in Great Britain, is toward more out of court spin.  The Louise Woodward case, though tried in Boston, was widely covered, in Great Britain.  The public learned a great deal about the intricacies of Massachusetts’s market place and the power of the judge to reduce the jury’s verdict.  All in all, it was a good experience for all who watched the trial on television.  It made the complicated result more understandable and less subject to emotional criticism.
 
            It is imperative in my view that the Locherbie appeal be televised.  I wish that the trial had also been televised.  Although I was a consultant to one of the law firms involved in the appeal of the Locherbie defendant, the views I am expressing in this article are entirely my own.  Televising the Locherbie appeal will show the British public, and perhaps the rest of the world, how weak the eyewitness testimony against the defendant - - the centerpiece of the prosecution’s case - - actually was.
 
            The Appellate Court will have to determine whether the legal standard —“proof beyond a reasonable doubt” with “evidence from a single source [being] insufficient” — has been met in this case, where “a major factor” is the identification “evidence” of a single eyewitness.[1]  The trial judges acknowledged that the identification of the defendant was “not an unequivocal identification,” and there were “undoubtedly problems” with it.  It was preceded by inconsistent descriptions and the identification of an unrelated suspect with the motive, means and opportunity to have committed the crime.  The eyewitness was also shown a suggestive magazine article about the case which contained a photograph of the appellant as a suspect.
 
            Watching these issues play out on television may well shake the faith of some viewers in the validity of the conviction.  It will also surprise many viewers who have only read conclusory assertions about the strength of the case.  It may persuade others that the right man was convicted.  Most important, it will allow viewers to come to their own conclusions about whether the high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt was met by the prosecution in this case, or whether political or diplomatic considerations may have subtly entered into the court’s evaluation, as some, even some family members of the victims, suspect.  I see no downside in televising this case, which has already been widely covered by the media.  Whether the conviction is ultimately affirmed or reversed, an informed public will be in a far better position to evaluate the result than would be a public that viewed the case through the filter of print journalism.
 
            To argue in favor of televising trials is not to ignore the possible dangers in some cases.  Participants may posture - - even pander.  Lawyers may play to the public or may seek to enhance careers and reputations.  Even some judges may try to mug for the camera.  In my experience, however, the television camera inclines most participants to improve their behavior.  Lawyers and judges tend to be better prepared, less likely to display anger and generally more professional.  Those lawyers and judges who play to the camera quickly learn that the camera is cruel to those who seek to exploit it.  For the most part, a professional lawyer deeply committed to his or her cause quickly forgets that the camera is on.  I argued the first appeal televised in America - - the appeal of Claus von Bulow in Providence, Rhode Island.  I was so intensely involved in presenting my argument to the appellate bench that after a few moments I was not even aware of the camera’s presence.  If there were any distractions, they came from the presence of friends and family members who were in the courtroom to watch me “perform”.  I disappointed them, because my argument was extremely low keyed and directed to those highly technical legal issues that I believed would best assure a reversal of the conviction, which we accomplished.  In the von Bulow case, I had reserved five minutes of my allocated half an hour to respond to the Prosecution’s argument.  As I began to rise from my seat to offer my response, my colleague tugged my jacket and whispered “Sit down; you’ve won.  Don’t give them any opportunity to poke a hole in your argument.”  Realizing that my colleague was probably right, I advised the Court that I had no further argument and that the Defense was resting.  The Chief Justice looked a bit  confused and said “but we’ve scheduled you for five more minutes.”  I responded that I waived my additional five minutes.  Only later did I learn that the television station broadcasting the argument was counting on the full time being taken.  They had been assured by the Chief Justice that I would not waive my rebuttal, and so they were stuck with five minutes of dead air time.  That, however, was their problem, not mine.  My sole obligation was to my client.
 
            In the film version of the von Bulow appeal - - “Reversal of Fortune” - - the actor who played me (Ron Silver) made a far more dramatic argument than the one I had made in Court.  The result was that he (who is not a lawyer) received calls from several inmates asking him to appeal their cases.
 
            Appeals are usually not the stuff of high drama.  In this regard, televising the Locherbie appeal will not provide a true test for the televising of ordinary trials.  The arguments in the Locherbie appeal are likely to be somewhat technical, but the sheer drama of the horrible crime is likely to attract considerable public attention.
 
            Ultimately, I believe that every trial should be videotaped, at least for archival purposes.  The remaining question should not be whether the trial should be seen by the public, but when it should be seen.  The answer should generally be in real time.  There will be some unusual cases in which the telecasting of the trial can be appropriately delayed by hours, days, months - - or, in extraordinary cases, years.  But the videotaping of trials should become as routine as the newspaper coverage of trials.  There should be a presumption in favor of the televising of trials.  Great Britain and the United States appropriately boast of their great judicial systems.  Neither, however, is perfect.  Yours is too elitist.  Ours is too populist.  Both can be improved, and both are part of a democratic system of governance.  No legal system worth preserving need hide its operation from public view, and public view today - - unlike a hundred years ago - - means a worldwide audience of television viewers.
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Offline chloead505

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Re: Feb 7th Arguments for televised trial proceedings

  • on: February 05, 2011, 08:28:21 PM
@hesouttamylife
Great article. Id love to have a lawyer-to-lawyer discussion with this guy about the MJ case. I want to know what's his perception of the insanity thats been going on till now.
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