We have posted on a number of occasions about the benefits of cameras in the courtroom, and recently another controversy sparking video has surfaced. In an August 8, 2015 post titled, Tearful woman gets judicial scolding, 3 days in jail for failing to show at domestic violence trial, the abajournal.com reported on a judge who finds a domestic violence victim in contempt of court for ignoring a summons and failing to appear to testify against her husband. The video shows the victim trying to explain through tears why she did not appear.
At the end of the video, Seminole County, Florida Judge Jerri Collins sentences the woman to three days in the county jail. Here’s a link to the approximately six-minute video:
The comments that follow the abajournal.com post reflect the differing views regarding judicial (and prosecutorial) conduct in domestic violence cases, specifically how the victims are relied upon and treated in the courtroom. But regardless of the viewpoint, it is clear that without videos such as these, the discussion would be less informed.
We at LPR believe that cameras in the courtroom and judicial transparency are a net positive. Legal consumers can get a glimpse of what to expect, judges can be praised or held accountable for their demeanor and rulings, and the judicial system as a whole can be improved.