Colorado's criminal court system allows for a camera to be present at certain proceedings, but only with the approval of the judge in charge of the proceeding. Any trial judge in Colorado has the ability to allow a camera in the court--referred to technically as Expanded Media Coverage--or not allow it. Those decisions are final. There is no appeal.
Any outlet allowed to bring a camera into a courtroom is obligated to provide that video to all other interested media, so that only one camera is present in order to preserve the decorum of the courtroom and the judicial process in general.
In this case, 9NEWS filed an Expanded Media Coverage request on Friday, as soon as we learned that there would be an appearance Monday.
When the judge received this request, he asked if it would be possible to provide this feed live, so that families and other interested people present at the courthouse could watch it in a different room due to the space limitations in the actual courtroom. It was important to the judge that this live feed not involve cables that would leave the courtroom to another transmission source, which is traditionally how live events are covered. The reason for this request stemmed from a natural concern about the security issues associated with bringing cables out of rooms, doors, windows etc.
9NEWS explained to the judge through a representative of the Colorado court administrator's office that this was indeed possible via new broadband live technology. There are limitations to this technology, but in order to address important security concerns, we believed this was the best solution available.
While there were some issues with the audio/video quality, we viewed this as an extraordinary opportunity to share the event and address the court's security concerns at the same time. Shortly after the live proceeding was complete, we shared a more technically sound copy of the audio and video with all other media.
In short, we are extraordinarily grateful for the cooperation of the judge and the Colorado state court administrator for providing the opportunity for public viewing of this important process, and look forward to more opportunities to work together in order to keep the criminal justice process open to the people, which is a goal that we all share.
Editor's Note: Tim Ryan is the Assistant News Director at 9NEWS, joining the station in 1991. He has coordinated dozens of events involving cameras in the courtroom in Colorado.
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