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December 05, 2011

Prop 8 trial judge argues for broadcasting court proceedings

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit will hear Imgresarguments in the appeal raising the question of whether the videotapes made of last year's Prop 8 trial must be released to the public.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker (retired, photo), who arranged for the tapes to be made (and who ruled that Prop 8 failed to pass muster under the U.S. Constitution), spoke recently before the Contra Costa Bar Association on the dynamics of high profile cases. In this YouTube video of the speech, the portions most relevant to the trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger begin at 24:45, and focus on the relationships between judges and the media in such cases. 

Not surprisingly, given his efforts to have the trial broadcast, Judge Walker is a strong believer in the value of public access to court proceedings, which he argues can be meaningful in the current media environment only by allowing the recording of such proceedings. There is no big revelation here, but Judge Walker makes a poweful argument for allowing any member of the public to observe judicial hearings by electronic means.

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