Restricting New Technologies in the Courtroom: A State-by-state Analysis

Open Access
Author:
Gelernter, Max Aaron
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Adam Wass Nye, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Cameras
  • Courtroom
  • Technologies
  • Political Science
  • States
Abstract:
Lights! Camera! Action! From Estes v. Texas to The People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson to Commonwealth v. Sandusky, the allowance of technologies within the courtroom has always been highly controversial. This controversy in particular is intriguing because it highlights two conflicting amendments in the United States Constitution. As Americans, we are guaranteed the Freedom of the Press in the First Amendment. In addition to that, we are guaranteed a right to a fair trial in the Sixth Amendment. There is a gray area between these two amendments. The Freedom of the Press Clause in the First Amendment means that the press should not be limited. However, when there is uncontrolled media access in the courtroom, it may influence the jury, thus rendering an unfair trial. As a result of this gray area, there is variance among the states when it comes to laws that restrict new technologies from the courtroom. Some states are very permissive while other states are extremely restrictive. Furthermore, there has been very little empirical research conducted to determine why this variance exists. The goal of this paper is to discover why certain states are more restrictive toward new technologies in the courtroom than others. All fifty states will be analyzed.