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Cameras And The Courtroom Essay

1755 words - 7 pages

“Equal justice under law”. Those four words are engraved on the very face of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. This phrase essentially means that everyone is to be treated equally and judged fairly. And yet, even with that phrase engraved on the outside of the Supreme Court building, many people are not treated fairly due to a certain policy regarding cameras inside of courtrooms. It is understood that all American citizens should have access to the goings on inside a courtroom but this is sadly not true. Due to the lack of cameras inside the courtroom, only those privileged enough to obtain a seat in the court may view the session, even though every single American has the right to view the proceedings, whether they want to or not. Cameras must be allowed in all courtrooms in order for the public to see the trials as well as for the benefit of those present.
With the knowledge of knowing that they are being recorded and watched, those participating in the trial will be alert, thus benefiting them. According to the book written by Larry J. Siegel and Joseph J. Senna, “[t]elevising trials […] ensures that judges, lawyers, and even witnesses act honestly […] especially cameras and TV, can increase community and political pressure on participants …” (395). In essence, the meaning of this quote is that people tend to be careful when they know they are being watched. The participating judges, lawyers, and participants will behave truthfully because they are feeling the pressure of being watched and judged on their actions. No one wants to make a fool out of themselves knowing that, however unlikely, the number of eyes watching could be anywhere from the lucky few in the courtroom to hundreds not present in the room. With cameras in the courtroom, participants will benefit by feeling more pressure to behave honestly during the trial which would, in turn, help the court process.
For the defendants, having cameras present will allow them to review the trial to see whether or not they can file for an appeal. An appeal in court is a request for the review of a case that has already been tried. It is different from starting a trial over because “[i]nstead of putting witnesses on the stand and conducting a new trial for the appellate court, you will need to present a ‘brief’—a written argument setting out the mistakes the trial court made and the laws that support your positions” (Bergman, Berman-Barrett 404). In order to make a convincing brief, the person in question needs to either have an amazing memory or go over the case and the easiest way to do this would be to watch recorded footage. With the whole trial at their fingertips, those who are filing for the appeal have the option of reliving the court session and going over crucial moments and work all of them into the brief for the appellate court to review. By having a camera recording in the courtroom, the person may watch the footage to see if they may qualify for an appeal and then...

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