Reporting Bill Shields
QUINCY (CBS) — On any given day, Quincy District Court can be a case study in controlled chaos. So why not make it an internet show live?
“This is great!” says presiding Judge Mark Coven. “It’s going to allow the public to view the inner workings of the judicial system.”
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports.
It started last week, and is already proving to be an internet hit. “Open Court,” as it’s called, provides live internet streaming of all the proceedings in the First Session, everything from criminal arraignments to probation violations.
There is only one camera, but several microphones have been placed strategically around the courtroom, including right in front of Judge Coven who has noticed that the attorneys involved have not changed their work habits.
“Both prosecutors and defense attorneys did exactly the same thing when the camera was on, as when it was off,” he said.
And there is some controversy over the proceedings being carried live on the web. The Norfolk County District Attorney has been working with the producers to make sure that sensitive issues are treated as such.
“We want to protect victims,” says D.A. Michael Morrissey, “and if they, or witnesses, fear being on the internet, they may not come forward. I appreciate the First Amendment, but also the other amendments that apply to the courts and due process.”
But Morrissey went on to say that he’s concerned about having the video and audio archives of the proceedings being available to the public.
Still, “Open Court” appears to be a big hit so far. On its first day last week, it had thousands of hits. And Judge Coven sees the potential for other courtroom around the state to be wired for live internet streaming.