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Federal Judge Asked to Unseal Videotapes from Prop 8 Trial: VIDEO


Following a hearing on whether videotapes of the trial challenging Proposition 8 should be made public, Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Ware said that he “won’t delay very long” in issuing a ruling, the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reports:

David Thompson, an attorney for the Prop 8 supporters, contended that the release of the videotape would put their two star witnesses in harm’s way because their faces and voices would become publicly known. AFER attorneys argued that because the two witnesses are already publicly known because they have frequently testified for anti-gay groups in trials. Furthermore, the AFER attorneys noted that the two witnesses have not been “intimidated” in any way since the Prop 8 trial last year.

Prop 8 Trial Tracker has an archived liveblog of the proceedings.

The L.A. Times reports:

Ware said he would issue a written opinion on whether to remove a seal on the video of the same-sex marriage trial that ended in a ruling declaring the marriage ban unconstitutional. Ware did not say how he was leaning. But he said "the integrity of the judicial process is affected" when one judge promises a videotape will be used only for limited purposes and a second judge later decides to make the video public. The judge also said, however, that there is keen public interest in the proceedings and that the tapes might 'heighten public knowledge' about the case.

Watch AFER's presser following the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The irony boggles the mind - anti-gay bigots whose words and lies indeed harm others are suddenly afraid that THEY'll be the targets of discrimination?


    we have to defy anti-gay bigotry to Come Out and be Openly LGBT, and they're scared of Coming Out to be be Openly anti-LGBT.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 29, 2011 6:38:35 PM

  2. RE: Photo. I don't know the man at the podium -- I guess he's probably a lawyer or judge. I knew that British jurists were required to wear long powdered wigs, but when did this take-off in the US?
    I'm just sayin'...

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Aug 29, 2011 7:49:33 PM

  3. And why exactly did any judge ever feel that we should start hiding testimony in a public trial... FROM THE PUBLIC?!

    As much as we may not want to believe it, even Judges are quite capable of being blind to their own prejudices.

    That any judge would believe for a second that people's lives were put in danger by gay people is patently absurd.

    It's been the other way around, for centuries!

    Posted by: pete n sfo | Aug 29, 2011 8:04:13 PM

  4. @Alex That's Ted Boutrous, one of the lawyers fighting for us. Thanks for focusing on something so superficial, instead of appreciating the work he's doing. You seem like a really great guy to be around. I'm just sayin'...

    Posted by: K | Aug 29, 2011 9:09:53 PM

  5. If indeed Judge Walker promised the tape would never be made public, that gives me a bad feeling about Judge Ware ruling contrary to that.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 29, 2011 9:36:47 PM

  6. Don't over-guess. Judge Ware is known to be a fair minded judge. There is no reason for the court to keep the video from the public other then political maneuvering. If Judge Ware sticks to his history he will side with those against Prop 8 and release the tapes. If he doesn't then we know exactly where he stands.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Aug 29, 2011 11:27:15 PM

  7. No, OS2GUY, Judge Ware's primary concern is the integrity of the courts, as it should be. This is not a litmus test on where Judge Ware stands personally or judicially on the merits of this case. This is about the limits of one trial judge to override the rulings of another trial judge about matters which the latter essentially guaranteed were to be kept "secret."

    The Court has a very good reason not to release the tape: the prior decision that the recording was for the Court's limited use only. Particularly because Judge Ware did not make the original decision, he is (and should be) hesitant to overrule it even if he would like to or if Judge Walker would.

    The Court is in a bind here. It's likely that the tapes won't be released, and if they are, that the pro-Prop 8 folks will have a decent argument on appeal.

    Posted by: Blades12 | Aug 30, 2011 8:15:49 AM

  8. I think we are going to have a baby-splitting decision here. Judge Ware really is concerned about the notion of one judge undoing another judge's order (on which the other side relied), so I don't see him ordering the tapes released generally. On the other hand, he seemed to find ridiculous the proponents' argument that the tapes couldn't even be shown to the 9th Circuit panel hearing the appeal. So my guess is he'll allow the tapes to be shown to the appellate court, but won't let them be released beyond that.

    The first concern would be moot if Judge Ware just picked up the phone and spoke with Judge Walker. Since Judge Walker has already shown clips of the trial, and wanted to permit broadcasting in the first place, I would expect that he would tell Judge Ware that he wouldn't be in the least offended if Judge Ware undid his earlier order sealing the videos.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 30, 2011 11:47:12 AM

  9. Their afraid of Discrimination? Its funny how the shoe is somehow on the other foot now.

    Anti-gay bigots should be afraid, be very afraid...

    Posted by: Plumber Jupiter | Sep 1, 2011 4:59:46 PM

  10. Why in the world would Judge Walker promise the tape would never be made public, does he have something to hide?

    Posted by: Air Conditioing Fort Pierce | Sep 7, 2011 10:14:46 AM

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