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The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of online video streaming of criminal cases. The recent decision had to do with a group wanting to stream the criminal session in Quincy District Court. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the group will be able to stream live the pre-trial session of the Quincy District Court. (Picture taken by Chelzdd)
The Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court in Massachusetts essentially said that technology has changed and the courts needed to keep up with the times. The MA SJC reasoned that video streaming should be allowed because not allowing it would be against the constitutional rights of freedom of the press.
It will be interesting to see what limits the online video streaming of criminal cases will be. As of right now, it is only the pre-trial session that is being streamed online. The things that the public usually finds most interesting are criminal jury trials. The public becomes especially interested in a trial if it has gotten a lot of publicity. At some point the MA SJC may have to rule on the issue of whether criminal jury trials will be allowed to be streamed online. If the SJC does consider the issue of streaming jury trials online, then the SJC must balance the defendant’s rights to a fair and impartial jury trial verses the freedom on the press.
With technology changing every day, the courts must make difficult determinations about the use of technology in the court room. Recently, the US federal courts were going to experiment with online video streaming of civil jury trials. The US federal courts have yet to experiment with this type of technology for criminal trials. In the upcoming years, new technology will be experimented with, improved upon and ultimately ruled on.