Cameras in the courtroom? It's about time

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fill up your tank or buy a gallon of milk, and you're on camera. Walk down the street, and chances are, you're on camera -- whether it's a security camera, Web cam or just a passerby with a camera in a cell phone.

Walk down Norris Avenue, and you can be observed by anyone in the world with an Internet connection, via the Amazing McCook Cam (http://www.mccookalumni. com/camera.html).

Like it or not, cameras are a way of life. More often than not, they're there for a good purpose, and not just to intrude on our privacy. Store owners have a right to monitor their property for theft or vandalism. Schools and other facilities have a responsibility for monitoring the safety of those in their charge.

So, why not allow cameras in court?

Why not, indeed, say some Nebraska judges, who are initiating a pilot program to allow still and video cameras in a small number of courtrooms in the state.

The first was this week, when Richard Allen Griswold went on trial for the shooting death of 49-year-old Connie Eacret at her home in Beatrice.

"The courtrooms are open to the public ... and I think in this day and age ... we need to allow the technology," said District Court Judge Paul Korslund before the trial began.

It's about time. Colorado, Iowa and Kansas have allowed cameras in courtrooms for years.

Gone are the days when television cameras were a novelty, the size of a filing cabinet on wheels, requiring glaring lights. Modern still or video cameras should be hardly noticeable.

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican is one of the judges in favor of cameras, saying it would give the public a more accurate view of court proceedings than television dramas do.

We agree.

If cameras are a way of life already, there's no better use for the technology than allowing as many people as possible to witness justice in action.

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  • Little did they know when coining the Show opener: "Smile, your on candid camera." Isn't it interesting that the vast majority of Americans are photographed more times in one day, than would be, in their lifetime, fifty years ago. We just must be purdier today. Hmmmmm! Think on it.

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, May 21, 2008, at 2:45 PM
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