Cameras in the Courts: A Debate on “Miranda Warnings” Podcast

By Jennifer Andrus

Cameras in the Courts: A Debate on “Miranda Warnings” Podcast

6.28.2022

By Jennifer Andrus

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The issue of whether cameras should be allowed in courtrooms is in the national spotlight following the trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and Derek Chauvin and the Depp v. Heard libel case. Meanwhile in March, New York Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced  legislation to allow cameras but the bill didn’t make it out of committee.

On this week’s “Miranda Warnings” podcast, Daniel Novack, chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Media in the Law Committee, argued that cameras should be permitted  while Norm Effman, a public defender in Wyoming County, countered that defense counsel should have the right to keep cameras out.

With the approval of the presiding judge, some news organization are allowed to take photos and record video of some proceedings in local and county courts. Judges often permit coverage of arraignments, opening and closing statements, verdicts and sentencings. Under state law, cameras are not allowed to record testimony. Cameras are allowed at the appellate level and at the Court of Appeals, both of which hear arguments but not testimony.

Novack is the associate general counsel at book publisher Penguin Random House. Besides being a public defender, Effman is the executive director of the Wyoming County Attica Legal Aid Bureau. He is a member of NYSBA’s  Criminal Justice Section and previously was on the association’s Executive Committee. He is also a former chair of NYSBA’s Committee on Mandated Representation.

At the heart of the Novack and Effman debate was the question of how to weigh the desire of citizens and journalists to view court proceedings against the need to protect the rights of witnesses and defendants.

In preparation for this episode, the New York State Bar Association held an unscientific poll on Twitter and LinkedIn. Here are the results:

Question: Should New York allow cameras in the courtroom?

Twitter

Yes  72.3%

No  27.7%

884 respondents

LinkedIn

Yes 61%

No 39%

384 respondents

Podcast link here

You can also hear the full conversation on our  YouTube channel here

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