Net's action tries to get cameras back into courtrooms

Court TV’s suit against the state of New York has entered the oral argument stage.

Channel is seeking a declaratory judgment that the New York state law prohibiting cameras in trial courts is unconstitutional.

Suit was filed on Sept. 5, 2001, in New York County Supreme Court. Gov. George Pataki, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and New York County DA Robert Morgenthau are also named as the three officials responsible for enforcing laws of the state.

It is the first time any media org has sued to end a statewide ban against cameras in the courtroom.

High-profile attorney David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner is representing the network.

“Our suit seeks to give state court judges the discretion to provide the electronic media with the same right to cover trials in New York as the print media,” Court TV chair and CEO Henry Schleiff said. “We are delighted to have a lawyer of David Boies’ reputation argue a case which would provide the public with greater access to our judicial system.”

Cameras are allowed in all 50 states in appellate proceedings. New York is one of 11 states that do not permit cameras in its trial courts under any circumstances, even with the absolute discretion of the judge.

The National Press Photographers Assn. is standing behind the channel.

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