Cameras in the Courtroom

The sixth amendment of the constitution of the United States says, “those accused of crimes have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed” (United States Constitution Amendment 6). The amendment does not make any mention of how the public trial will be presented to its citizens. In the almost 300 years since this amendment was made there have been advancements in how the public receives information on trials. Today one can simply turn on the television and watch events in the courtroom take place right before their very eyes. Even though the public deserves to know what is going on, it is a bad idea to have television cameras in the courtroom because it can compromise the constitutional right to a fair trial, and the trial proceedings.
    According to the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court (2005), the controversy over the use of news cameras in courtrooms has persisted for 70 years (para. 1). Prior to the television reports of modern day, citizens turned to the newspaper and radio for news. Cameras were introduced in 1935, and the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann (the man found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Charles' Lindbergh’s son) that the use of cameras was found to be a distracting presence. Lassiter (1995) “noted that the media attention was intense, and the judge ultimately barred cameras from the courtroom because of the broadcast media’s chaotic coverage.”
    30 years after this landmark case, the debate continued. In 1965 the Supreme Court reversed a criminal conviction in the state-level case of Estes v. Texas, finding that televising the proceedings had deprived the defendant of a fair trial (Cameras in the Courts 2002). In 1981 another case in regard to the televising of trials came to the Supreme Court. The case of Chandler vs. Florida produced a ruling in favor of broadcast media.
    Taking advantage of the Chandler vs. Florida ruling, and...