Cameras in the Courtroom

Indiana to Soon Allow Cameras in the Courtroom

Having the option to allow news cameras in their courtrooms was made possible by a pilot program for Indiana judges.

“People shouldn’t be shocked that this occurred. This has been a long time coming,” said Joel Schumm is a law clinical professor at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law.

Millions of people were able to view the O.J. trial thanks to cameras in the courtroom. The Simpson trial took place over 25 years ago.

Since then, many states across the nation have passed laws allowing cameras in courtrooms, but Indiana has not. But that will soon change thanks to new guidance from the Indiana Supreme Court, which will allow cameras in to give more eyes inside Indiana’s judicial system.

“It’s a significant change, in my opinion, but one that only happened after extensive research. There have been other ways to test this out and make sure it works before the recent pilot project, which took place in five different courtrooms across the state. And what the court has come up with is a really fine-tuned rule that exempts certain kinds of cases, exempts certain kinds of witnesses, doesn’t allow jurors to be shown on camera,” Schumm said.

It took time for the courtroom to undergo this significant transformation toward greater transparency.

The Indiana Broadcasters Association’s executive director, Dave Arland, stated that they have been advocating for this for the past twenty years. Indiana will now join the majority of other states in the nation that are illuminating a public process.

“This Supreme Court decision is fantastic news in our opinion because it finally allows the public to speak up and watch court proceedings in private and with respect. And we can share that information with our viewers,” Arland said.

It hasn’t been simple or quick to get to this point of change. Schumm claimed that the pandemic’s mild relaxation of restrictions aided this slow process.

“The Supreme Court permitted livestreaming in courtrooms while COVID was in session even though the rooms were locked. Judges didn’t have to do it but a number of judges did,” Schumm said. “This doesn’t seem like such a big step after that, does it?”

Additionally, the Indiana Supreme Court gave five judges in the Hoosier State permission to experiment with allowing cameras in the courtroom last year, including Judge Marianne Vorhees. She was still working as a judge in Delaware County at the time. In Indiana, she is currently employed as a special judge.

She claimed that during the trial, she observed neighborhood newspapers, students, and news organizations reaching out to use cameras in the courtroom. She claimed that they entered without incident.

“Attorneys, parties, or witnesses did not object to anything I said. I think people are so used to media now and the idea of cameras in the courtroom, I didn’t have any issues with that,” Vorhees said.

In her two decades on the bench, Vorhees claimed she had repeatedly observed that people are eager to learn more about our judicial system. She asserted that she thinks the public will be allowed access to the courtroom now that cameras are permitted.

“So I think people are really fascinated by that,” Vorhees said. “They are genuinely curious about what is taking place. Furthermore, they have the right to say that if you wish, you are welcome to attend court and take a seat. However, because some people lack access to reliable transportation and others have jobs, it does afford people the chance to observe what actually occurs.”

Read More: Are There Cameras in Movie Theaters?


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