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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Judge okays televising Prop 8 trial (via YouTube); begins Mon, Jan 11

Wednesday, the judge overseeing the Prop 8 overturn trial, which begins Monday, January 11, signaled he would allow the filming and limited broadcast of the proceedings:
Chief Judge Vaughn Walker made it clear Wednesday that he will forge ahead with televising the federal challenge to Prop 8...But he also signaled he doesn't want to be the next Lance Ito.

The trial, which begins on Monday, will be filmed by court personnel, Walker ruled, but it will not be broadcast live. Instead, the recording will be posted on a YouTube page at some point after the close of the day's proceedings. Walker declined an offer from In Session (formerly Court TV) to broadcast live, with its own crew..."I think in view of the nature of this proceeding, it is important for this process to be completely under the court's control," he said.

Lawyers representing the Yes on 8 campaign objected to any broadcast beyond an overflow room in the San Francisco federal building, arguing that witnesses would be intimidated, or change their testimony. But Walker was skeptical, pointing out that depositions have been widely videotaped for years. []
Many of us got an email blast in the last few days from the Courage Campaign asking us to tell the courts televise the upcoming trial to overturn Prop 8; I'm not sure how YouTube is television or if broadcast networks are allowed to stream the YouTube version, but at least it won't be closed proceedings:
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker -- who will be overseeing a federal court challenge to Prop 8 starting this Monday (January 11) -- is considering whether or not to open the court room to TV cameras.

The court just announced that it is seeking public comment on the proposal to televise the trial -- and that all comments must be submitted to the court by a Friday deadline.

The interest in this case is unprecedented. And not surprisingly, supporters of Prop 8 -- who eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry -- do NOT want the trial to be televised.

Opponents of Prop 8 -- led by attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson -- are seeking to televise the case in the interests of full transparency. They want this historic trial to be watched by as many Americans as possible. And, of course, we agree.
A recent decision in the 9th Circuit of Federal Court recently opened up the possibility of cameras in non-criminal trials. The Prop 8 trial will be its first test-run if Judge Walker's decisions stays.

The Courage Campaign, in expectation of large resistance from the Yes on 8 side, is still asking for us to fill the petition in support of the broadcast if we have not already signed it. I have always been in favor of us telling our real stories in order to change hearts and minds. Perhaps this trial will include that in addition to all the regular court room drama.

I'll post links, clips, etc. as soon as I find them on Monday.

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