Sunday, January 06, 2002

Lights, Cameras, Action; Take Two

Today's Wilmington News Journal voices their opinion on the subject of cameras in court rooms in Delaware. Their focus is upon recent meetings of the Delaware Bar, Bench Media Conference. The interplay between the Judiciary and the Delaware Bar is one of the strengths of the State. Some of our best laws have been the result of dialogue between the Bench and Bar, the most notable being the Delaware General Corporate Law.

The editorial revisits two of the most highly publicized trials that were televised in the last decade; the 1991 rape trial of William Kennedy Smith, and the 1994 murder trial of O.J. Simpson. The two cases exhibit the extremes that trials can go to, with the Smith case being orderly and the Simpson case turning into a circus. The difference between the two trials wasn't the presence of TV cameras, but rather the control that the Judges maintained in each case.

The New Journal tells us that:
Sometime in the next six months, the Bar, Bench, Media Conference will again petition the Supreme Court to conduct an experiment with cameras and audio equipment in a trial court. Superior Court President Judge Henry du Pont Ridgley, who presided over the Grossberg-Peterson trial, is enthusiastic about such an experiment. Judge Ridgely's willingness is welcome. His forward-looking attitude is exactly what's needed.

This is an experiment that seems to be well worth pursuing. Educating the public by giving them a chance to see the judicial branch in action is an idea that makes sense. If the Bench and Bar can work together to bring us success, without impacting negatively upon the rights of litigants in cases, we all benefit.
- William Slawski