Indiana researchers are waiting to hear from the state Supreme Court on whether it will allow more cameras into courtrooms after a pilot program showed cameras have no negative effect on trials proceedings.
Judges have long been concerned that when cameras are allowed in courtrooms witnesses can be put in danger. They also worry attorneys will try to sway public opinion and taint the outcome of the case.
But Hoosier State Press Association Director Stephen Key says by putting some management guidelines in place, these risks can be removed.
“That having a camera unobstrusively attached to the wall would not negatively impact the proceedings,” Key said.
Key initiated the pilot program in Indiana that he hopes will lead to better public access and transparency in court proceedings.
The 18 month program allowed cameras in three Lake County courtrooms. It didn’t go as far as allowing reporters to bring their own equipment. Instead, it streamed footage from a camera installed on the court room wall, online.
But Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Charlie Geyh says he still has concerns about allowing cameras in court.
“Opening themselves up without limit or control, to them allows for the possibility they would be portrayed inaccurately,” Geyh said. “That the public would be missed led by taking a 5 hours proceeding and broadcasting a 30 second sound bite, that misrepresents the nature of the proceeding.”
The pilot program concluded in July of last year, and the findings have now been submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court.