Thursday, January 7, 2010

Watching an important trial on the Internet

On Monday, trial will begin in federal court in San Francisco in  the lawsuit seeking to overturn California's Prop 8, which outlawed gay marriage. The plaintiffs had asked the court to allow the trial, which will not have a jury, to be televised live.

In an interesting ruling yesterday, the judge hearing the case denied that motion. He did, however, rule that the trial could be videotaped and then uploaded, on a delayed basis, to YouTube.  According to the S.F. Chronicle:
[Judge] Walker said this case seemed ideal for a pilot program, approved last month by the federal appeals court in San Francisco, to allow telecasting of selected nonjury civil trials.
He cited the wide interest in the case and said most of the witnesses would be campaign officials or academic experts accustomed to speaking in public.
"I've always thought that if the public could see how the judicial process works, they would take a somewhat different view of it," the judge said.
A court spokesman said the uploads would happen as quickly as possible, which could be the same day or the next day.

Interesting use of YouTube's capabilities to bring a major event to the public.

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