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Television Cameras Inside The Courthouse In Los Angeles


Over the course of the last 25 years, I’ve seen a lot of TV cameras be permitted to go inside the courtrooms and film what’s going on, in my own cases and also in other cases – whether they be high-publicity actors or actresses, or whether it just involves a serious case like a murder or some sort of a sex crime. Cameras are not automatically allowed in the court, especially TV cameras that are filming, because then what happens is reporters start putting spins on things. They don’t have all the information. So, there’s a certain standard in order to let a television camera inside one of the LA courtrooms.

Whoever wants a TV camera – it’s usually the News stations that have an interest in the public seeing what’s going on – versus prosecutors who are not supposed to be trying to garner favor and support because of the television camera being in the courtroom. They are supposed to be out to seek justice, so they really shouldn’t be lobbying for any TV cameras in a courtroom, and most of the time they pretty much don’t have a position, unless somehow the prosecutors feel it’s going to hurt them if the television camera comes in the courtroom. But, it’s really usually the News media and they’re saying, hey listen, the public has a right to know. It’s a public courtroom and we should be able to televise it.

Now the defense can argue, wait a minute. If you televise this thing and then put your spin on it, it’s going to hurt my client. It’s basically going to interfere with any potential jury pool. They’re going to say, wait a minute. I’ve seen this case. I’ve heard News media on it and they think that’s the truth. That’s just how people’s brains work. Oh yeah, I heard about his guy. He did this, this and this; meanwhile, the News media has no information. They don’t have the police reports. They don’t have the evidence. They don’t know what the investigation is. They almost never have the defense’s side of the equation. So, the bottom line is, unless the News media can show a compelling interest they are not going to be able to film if the defense can come up with a real good argument that the jury pool could be tainted and possibly their client prejudiced because of the News media coverage.

Are There Times When News Media and Television In Courtrooms Can Actually Help A Criminal Defendant?

I would say, absolutely to that. I’ve used them myself where we want to get our side of the story out. The News media is reporting one thing – they’re saying a bunch of stuff with a one-sided slanted story and we want to get the defense’s story out, so I’m able to get on television and I’m able to say the positive, powerful things about my defendant’s case – get his or her side of the story out – and now at least there’s a story. There’s one side and now the defense’s side comes out, so now people start thinking, well wait a minute. Maybe there is another side of the story. Maybe there is another way to look at this thing. If you’re able to do that then once a case goes to trial at least you’re on even footing.

To be honest with you, most of the time I don’t make any comments because I don’t really have all the information when the News media is attempting to get on a case. I usually don’t have the police report. I don’t have any investigating information. We haven’t done a defense investigation. I haven’t seen any videos or any witness statements. So, it doesn’t make sense. It’s probably foolish to start making a bunch of comments before you have all the information. So, if you’re involved in a high-publicity case and you need to sit down with an attorney who has been down this road before, had success, knows how to deal with these cases – come, sit down with me. We’ll get our strategy together and we’ll make the moves and decisions that put you in the best light of the public eye and gives you a defense that can protect your freedom, your rights, your reputation and everything that you hold dear.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.