Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cameras in the Corridor

After the seventh day of trial, tomorrow is a day off due to a New York State court holiday. The holiday does not extend to us lowly county employees so I am working, although with the trial in full swing I would have been in anyway. As a sign of rebellion though, I am thinking of dressing business casual tomorrow. Scandal, I know.

I came home today to the news and saw that they were reporting on my current trial. Both defense attorneys gave interviews to the media, but I declined. As a prosecutor, getting your face in front of the camera is never a good thing unless you are the big boss. But then the news story shifted and I watched video of my witnesses leaving the courtroom.

Trials are public affairs and the media has a duty to report on them. But there is something unsettling about witnesses being displayed for the world to see. I am sure the witnesses don't want it and I certainly don't. It can only negatively affect my ability to convince witnesses to do the right thing and testify if they have to be recorded doing the right thing.

Judges usually leave the decision on whether to allow cameras to the defense attorneys as their clients will be the ones on camera all the time. During trials though, I object to any filming of witnesses or jurors. A person should not have to be subjected to that simply because they are performing their civic duty or because a person was unlucky enough to be a witness to a crime.

For those of you that have emailed me, I appreciate your patience. I'll get back to you as quick as I can. My day job gets in the way of this blog a lot of the time.


  1. I have never testified at a trial, but I can tell you, it would wig me out to have cameras out there. Enjoy your casual day.

  2. I only work on misdemeanors, but the number one question I get from a victim or witness is: "Do I have to come to court?" Aside from the inconvenience, I would imagine it really is frightening when you think about the general attitude that people (youth?) in NYC have towards "snitching" or helping law enforcement. Many victims I've worked with get harassed almost immediately through social media.

    1. It happens everywhere. How do we get the message out that a victim is not a "snitch"?