The Prop 8 challenge could be the first case to be televised under new authorization from The Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit, according to The Recorder:
The Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit authorized television
cameras in certain district court proceedings Thursday, reviving a
national controversy just weeks before a groundbreaking trial over same-sex marriage is slated to begin in San Francisco.
The 9th Circuit currently allows cameras to televise appellate
arguments, as does the 2nd Circuit. A private vendor has also recorded
a handful of district court proceedings in New York.
But under the 9th Circuit's new experimental program — in which
only civil, nonjury trials would qualify — district courts would be
likely to use their own camera equipment, said Circuit Executive Cathy
Catterson. The method of distribution would be figured out on a
"It might be posted later in the day, it could be edited, or it
could be live. It would depend on the nature of the case," Catterson
Cases to be considered for the pilot program, and the distribution
details, will be decided by each district's chief judge, in
consultation with 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. In San
Francisco it is the Northern District of California's chief judge,
Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the federal challenge to Prop 8.
Walker first raised the possibility of a televised broadcast
several weeks ago, and lawyers representing pro-same-sex-marriage
plaintiffs support the idea. The defendants oppose it, saying
anti-gay-marriage witnesses could be subject to harassment and
retribution. When the topic arose again this week, Walker alluded to
possible 9th Circuit action and asked for another discussion with the
parties should authorization occur.
The U.S. Judicial Conference officially opposes cameras in the
court, and it has "strongly urged" each circuit council to prohibit the
practice, said Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative
Office of the Courts. Only the 2nd and 9th Circuits have broken ranks.
Defense lawyer Cris Arguedas, who sits on the state's Bench Bar Media Committee, generally does not agree with cameras in the courtroom, but she feels differently about the Prop 8 trial: "It's an extremely important issue to the public, and I think it's
right to have it be available in this way, as opposed to
some little bank robbery case that doesn't matter to the public, but
might matter to the guy on trial."