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Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

SCOTUS and other courts of Appellate Jurisdiction, cases and opinions

Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby country_hick » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:08 pm

No video recording in court. is it time to change this case?

It seems to me that using the technology of today with small unobtrusive cell phone cameras and action cams barely larger than a tic-tac box the issues raised this case would be irrelevant today. At a minimum recording your own trial such as in traffic court should be allowed. It is not disruptive to record the judge from a small video recorder that could barely be seen from 10 feet away. The massive presence of the old cameras is not necessary today. I can hide a good 1080p camera in the palm of my hand that will record for at least an hour.

(On to excerpts from the case.)

Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8621612766167971303&q=streets+%22from+time+immemorial%22&hl=en&as_sdt=4,60,105,119,193

However, at that time a defense motion to prevent telecasting, broadcasting by radio and news photography and a defense motion for continuance were presented, and after a two-day hearing the former was denied and the latter granted.

536*536 These initial hearings were carried live by both radio and television, and news photography was permitted throughout. The videotapes of these hearings clearly illustrate that the picture presented was not one of that judicial serenity and calm to which petitioner was entitled.

Indeed, at least 12 cameramen were engaged in the courtroom throughout the hearing taking motion and still pictures and televising the proceedings. Cables and wires were snaked across the courtroom floor, three microphones were on the judge's bench and others were beamed at the jury box and the counsel table. It is conceded that the activities of the television crews and news photographers led to considerable disruption of the hearings. Moreover, venire men had been summoned and were present in the courtroom during the entire hearing but were later released after petitioner's motion for continuance had been granted.

The trial witnesses present at the hearing, as well as the original jury panel, were undoubtedly 537*537 made aware of the peculiar public importance of the case by the press and television coverage being provided, and by the fact that they themselves were televised live and their pictures rebroadcast on the evening show.

Because of continual objection, the rules governing live telecasting, as well as radio and still photos, were changed as the exigencies of the situation seemed to require. As a result, live telecasting was prohibited during a great portion of the actual trial.

Because of the varying restrictions placed on sound and live telecasting the telecasts of the trial were confined largely to film clips shown on the stations' regularly scheduled news programs.

Nor can the courts be said to discriminate where they permit the newspaper reporter access to the courtroom. The television and radio reporter has the same privilege. All are entitled to the same rights as the general public. The news reporter is not permitted to bring his typewriter or printing press. When the advances in these arts permit reporting by printing press or by television without their present hazards to a fair trial we will have another case.

We have always held that the atmosphere essential to the preservation of a fair trial—the most fundamental of all freedoms—must be maintained at all costs.

It is true that the public has the right to be informed as to what occurs in its courts, but reporters of all media, including television, are always present if they wish to be 542*542 and are plainly free to report whatever occurs in open court through their respective media. This was settled in Bridges v. California, 314 U. S. 252 (1941), and Pennekamp v. Florida, 328 U. S. 331 (1946), which we reaffirm.

1. The potential impact of television on the jurors is perhaps of the greatest significance. They are the nerve center of the fact-finding process.

From the moment the trial judge announces that a case will be televised it becomes a cause celebre. The whole community, including prospective jurors, becomes interested in all the morbid details surrounding it. The approaching trial immediately assumes an important status in the public press and the accused is highly publicized along with the offense with which he is charged. Every juror carries with him into the jury box these solemn facts and thus increases the chance of prejudice that is present in every criminal case. And we must remember that realistically it is only the notorious trial which will be broadcast, because of the necessity for paid sponsorship. The conscious or unconscious effect that this may have on the juror's judgment cannot be evaluated, but experience indicates that it is not only possible but highly probable that it will have a direct bearing on his vote as to guilt or innocence.

Indeed, the mere fact that the trial is to be televised might render witnesses reluctant to appear and thereby impede the trial as well as the discovery of the truth.

3. A major aspect of the problem is the additional responsibilities the presence of television places on the trial judge. His job is to make certain that the accused receives a fair trial. This most difficult task requires his undivided attention. Still when television comes into the courtroom he must also supervise it. In this trial, for example, the judge on several different occasions—aside from the two days of pretrial—was obliged to have a hearing or enter an order made necessary solely because of the presence of television. Thus, where telecasting is restricted as it was here, and as even the State concedes it must be, his task is made much more difficult and exacting.

The snouts of the four television cameras protruded through the opening in the booth, and the cameras and their operators were not only readily visible but were impossible to ignore by all who were surveying the activities in this small courtroom. No one could forget that he was constantly in the focus of the "all-seeing eye."

4. Finally, we cannot ignore the impact of courtroom television on the defendant. Its presence is a form of mental—if not physical—harassment, resembling a police line-up or the third degree. The inevitable close-ups of his gestures and expressions during the ordeal of his trial might well transgress his personal sensibilities, his dignity. and his ability to concentrate on the proceedings before him—sometimes the difference between life and death— dispassionately, freely and without the distraction of wide public surveillance. A defendant on trial for a specific crime is entitled to his day in court, not in a stadium, or a city or nationwide arena. The heightened public clamor resulting from radio and television coverage will inevitably result in prejudice. Trial by television is, therefore, foreign to our system. Furthermore, telecasting may also deprive an accused of effective counsel. The distractions, intrusions into confidential attorney-client relationships and the temptation offered by television to play to the public audience might often have a direct effect not only upon the lawyers, but the judge, the jury and the witnesses. See Pye, The Lessons of Dallas— Threats to Fair Trial and Free Press, National Civil Liberties Clearing House, 16th Annual Conference.

While our telecasters are honorable men. they too are human. The necessity for sponsorship weighs heavily in favor of the televising of only notorious cases, such as this one, and invariably focuses the lens upon the unpopular or infamous 550*550 accused. Such a selection is necessary in order to obtain a sponsor willing to pay a sufficient fee to cover the costs and return a profit. We have already examined the ways in which public sentiment can affect the trial participants. To the extent that television shapes that sentiment, it can strip the accused of a fair trial.

The hearing was televised live and repeated on tape in the same evening, reaching approximately 100,000 viewers. In addition, the courtroom was a mass of wires, television cameras, microphones and photographers.

Moreover, the trial judge was himself harassed. After the initial decision to permit telecasting he apparently decided that a booth should be built at the broadcasters' expense to confine its operations; he then decided to limit the parts of the trial that might be televised live; then he decided to film the testimony of the witnesses without sound in an attempt to protect those under the rule; and finally he ordered that defense counsel and their argument not be televised, in the light of their objection. Plagued by his original error—recurring each day of the trial— his day-to-day orders made the trial more confusing to the jury, the participants and to the viewers. Indeed, it resulted in a public presentation of only the State's side of the case.

It is said that the ever-advancing techniques of public communication and the adjustment of the public to its 552*552 presence may bring about a change in the effect of telecasting upon the fairness of criminal trials. But we are not dealing here with future developments in the field of electronics. Our judgment cannot be rested on the hypothesis of tomorrow but must take the facts as they are presented today.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, concurring.

I concur in the opinion of the Court, subject, however, to the reservations and only to the extent indicated in this opinion.

The resolution of those further questions should await an appropriate case; the 591*591 Court should proceed only step by step in this unplowed field. The opinion of the Court necessarily goes no farther, for only the four members of the majority who unreservedly join the Court's opinion would resolve those questions now.
There is a reason that LEO has a new meaning: Legally Entitled to Oppress. Thanks to Bob Livingston for this one.

Williams v. United States, 341 US 97 - Supreme Court 1951
It is the right of the accused to be tried by a legally constituted court, not by a kangaroo court.

Penhallow v. Doane's Administrators, 3 US 54 - Supreme Court 1795
Judges may die, and courts be at an end; but justice still lives, and, though she may sleep for a while, will eventually awake, and must be satisfied
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Re: Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby Shoonra » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:06 am

The Estes decision was not the only one in which the Supreme Court held that there was no "right" to make private recordings or broadcasts of court proceedings.

There is no constitutional right to film or broadcast (or webcast) what happens inside a courtroom. Nixon v. Warner Communications Inc. (1978) 435 US 589 at 610, 55 L.Ed.2d 570 at 587, 98 S.Ct 1305 at 1318, 3 Media L.Rep 2074; similarly Estes v. Texas (1965) 381 US 532 at 539-542, 14 L.Ed.2d 543, 85 S.Ct 1628, 1 Media L.Rep 1187, 1 Radio Reg. 2104; similarly Chandler v. Florida (1981) 449 US 560, 66 L.Ed.2d 740, 101 S.Ct 802, 7 Media L.Rep 1041; similarly In re Sony BMG Music Enterprises (1st Cir 2009) 564 F3d 1, 37 Media L.Rep 1681, 90 USPQ2d 1481 cert.den 558 US 933; similarly Hollingsworth v. Perry (2010) 558 US 183, 175 L.Ed.2d 657, 130 S.Ct 705 38 Media L.Rep 1097; similarly Weddigen v. Weddigen (2015) 2015 Ill.App.4th 150044, 397 Ill.Dec 573, 42 NE3d 488. Similarly, no constitutional right to photograph the jurors in a court case. KPNX Broadcasting Co. v. Arizona Superior Court (1982) 459 US 1302, 74 L.Ed.2d 498, 103 S.Ct 584, 8 Media L.Rep 2600.
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Re: Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby country_hick » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:38 am

Weddigen v. Weddigen (2015) case sure makes judges look like ignorant pricks. Rules of court are not laws unless they are passed by the legislature. In my state rules of court are unconstitutionally written and implemented by the justices.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5298021697211374994&q=Weddigen+v.+Weddigen+App.4th+150044,+397+&hl=en&as_sdt=10000006

The concurring opinion made the 1st amendment case exceptionally well for why all recording should be allowed in court.

¶ 45 STEIGMANN, J., specially concurring
¶ 46 Although fully agreeing with the majority, I write separately to express my dismay regarding the contempt proceedings that occurred in this case.
¶ 49 The modern, seminal decision from the United States Supreme Court on the first amendment is Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447, 89 S.Ct. 1827, 23 L.Ed.2d 430 (1969), where the Court wrote the following: "[T]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." More recently, in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234, 253, 122 S.Ct. 1389, 152 L.Ed.2d 403 (2002), the Court reiterated and expanded upon these themes, as follows:

"The mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient reason for banning it. * * * First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.

To preserve these freedoms, and to protect speech for its own sake, the Court's First Amendment cases draw vital distinctions between words and deeds, between ideas and conduct. See [Kingsley International Pictures Corp. v. Regents of the University of the State of New York, 360 U.S. 684, 689, 79 S.Ct. 501*501 1362, 3 L.Ed.2d 1512 (1959)]; see also Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514, 529 [121 S.Ct. 1753, 149 L.Ed.2d 787] (2001) (`The normal method of deterring unlawful conduct is to impose an appropriate punishment on the person who engages in it'). The government may not prohibit speech because it increases the chance an unlawful act will be committed `at some indefinite future time.' Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105, 108 [94 S.Ct. 326, 38 L.Ed.2d 303] (1973) (per curiam)."

¶ 50 The Court also had occasion to apply the Brandenburg standard in National ***'n for the Advancement of Colored People v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 102 S.Ct. 3409, 73 L.Ed.2d 1215 (1982) in which, during a civil rights boycott, Charles Evers, an NAACP official, allegedly threatened violence against boycott breakers. The Supreme Court unanimously concluded that Evers' speech was protected by the first amendment, explaining that "[t]his court has made clear * * * that mere advocacy of the use of force or violence does not remove speech from the protection of the First Amendment." (Emphasis in original.) Id. at 927, 102 S.Ct. 3409. The Court added the following:

"Strong and effective extemporaneous rhetoric cannot be nicely channeled in purely dulcet phrases. An advocate must be free to stimulate his audience with spontaneous and emotional appeals for unity and action in a common cause. When such appeals do not incite lawless action, they must be regarded as protected speech. To rule otherwise would ignore the `profound national commitment' that `debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.' New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. [254, 270, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964)]." Id. at 928, 102 S.Ct. 3409.

¶ 52 The Court applied the then-standard for use in first-amendment cases of whether the words in question "are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about * * * substantive evils." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id. at 261, 62 S.Ct. 190. The Court added that the likelihood, however great, that a substantive evil will result "cannot alone justify a restriction upon freedom of speech or the press. The evil itself must be `substantial', [citation]; it must be `serious', [citation]." Id. at 262, 62 S.Ct. 190. The Court added the following: "What finally emerges from the `[clear] and present danger' cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished." Id. at 263, 62 S.Ct. 190. The Court concluded as follows:

"Those cases [applying the `clear and present danger' test] do not purport to mark the furthermost constitutional boundaries of protected expression, nor do we here. They do no more than recognize a minimum compulsion of the Bill of Rights. For the First Amendment does not speak equivocally. It prohibits any law `abridging the freedom 502*502 of speech, or of the press.' It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow." Id.

¶ 54 Regarding what may be the sensitive feelings of judges to criticism, whether fair or unfair, the Court also added the following:

"The assumption that respect for the judiciary can be won by shielding judges from published criticism wrongly appraises the character of American public opinion. For it is a prized American privilege to speak one's mind, although not always with perfect good taste, on all public institutions. And an enforced silence, however limited, solely in the name of preserving the digni[t]y of the bench, would probably engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt much more than it would enhance respect." Id. at 270-71, 62 S.Ct. 190.


¶ 59 In a more recent decision involving a case in which the defendant was found in contempt and asserted his first-amendment protections, the First District Appellate Court in D'Agostino v. Lynch, 382 Ill.App.3d 960, 971, 320 Ill.Dec. 446, 887 N.E.2d 590 (2008), wrote the following:

"The public interest in the integrity and competence of the judicial process requires that courts and judges not be shielded from `wholesome exposure.' People v. Goss, 10 Ill.2d 533, 544, 141 N.E.2d 385, 390 (1957). To that end, the United States Supreme Court has declared that freedom of speech and freedom of the press should not be impaired through the exercise of a court's contempt power unless there is `"no doubt that the utterances in question are a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice."' People v. Hathaway, 27 Ill.2d 615, 618, 190 N.E.2d 332, 334 (1963), quoting Craig v. Harney, 331 U.S. 367, 373 [67 S.Ct. 1249, 91 L.Ed. 1546] (1947). Thus, `the first amendment forbids the punishment by contempt for comment on pending cases in the absence of a showing that the utterances created a "clear and present danger" to the administration of justice.' Hathaway, 27 Ill.2d at 618, 190 N.E.2d at 334."

63 It must be remembered that at issue in this case is the first amendment to the United States Constitution — the crown jewel of our constitution that provides protections for the fundamental rights of Americans that no other persons on this planet enjoy — at least, not to the extent that we do. Thus, as the Supreme Court wrote just five months ago in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, 576 U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2218, 2231, 192 L.Ed.2d 236 (2015), a case concerning whether a municipality's sign code unduly restricted freedom of speech, the provisions at issue "can stand only if they survive strict scrutiny, which requires the government to prove that the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) The restriction the trial court imposed in this case utterly fails to meet the "narrowly tailored" test.

¶ 65 IV. CONCLUSION

¶ 66 We in the judiciary are part of the government and just as subject to fair — and unfair — criticism as those in the executive and legislative branches. We can no more be "delicate snowflakes" in the face of such criticism than can any other government official. The orders entered in this case finding respondent in contempt and directing him to purge his contempt were unnecessary, unwarranted, unwise, and violative of the first amendment.
There is a reason that LEO has a new meaning: Legally Entitled to Oppress. Thanks to Bob Livingston for this one.

Williams v. United States, 341 US 97 - Supreme Court 1951
It is the right of the accused to be tried by a legally constituted court, not by a kangaroo court.

Penhallow v. Doane's Administrators, 3 US 54 - Supreme Court 1795
Judges may die, and courts be at an end; but justice still lives, and, though she may sleep for a while, will eventually awake, and must be satisfied
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Re: Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby Shoonra » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:08 pm

Because of separation of powers, Rules of Court are not contrived by the legislative branch. In several instances, such as the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure, the Congress instructed the US Supreme Court to arrange to have the rules worked up, and essentially authorized the Supreme Court in advance to approve the finished product.
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Re: Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby country_hick » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:08 pm

Shoonra wrote:Because of separation of powers, Rules of Court are not contrived by the legislative branch. In several instances, such as the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure, the Congress instructed the US Supreme Court to arrange to have the rules worked up, and essentially authorized the Supreme Court in advance to approve the finished product.

That is not the original understanding of constitutional separation of powers.

Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 US 419 - Supreme Court 1793
I conceive, that all the Courts of the United States must receive, not merely their organization as to the number of Judges of which they are to consist; but all their authority, as to the manner of their proceeding, from the Legislature only. This appears to me to be one of those cases, with many others, in which an article of the Constitution cannot be effectuated without the intervention of the Legislative authority.
There being many such, at the end of the special enumeration of the powers of Congress in the Constitution, is this general one: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."
There is a reason that LEO has a new meaning: Legally Entitled to Oppress. Thanks to Bob Livingston for this one.

Williams v. United States, 341 US 97 - Supreme Court 1951
It is the right of the accused to be tried by a legally constituted court, not by a kangaroo court.

Penhallow v. Doane's Administrators, 3 US 54 - Supreme Court 1795
Judges may die, and courts be at an end; but justice still lives, and, though she may sleep for a while, will eventually awake, and must be satisfied
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Re: Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532 - Supreme Court 1965

Postby grndslm » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:56 pm

Are you telling me that a 3rd party court recorder cannot use an audio recording device?? Or is this in reference to chick recording only?
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