Judge Allows Cameras In Court For Pilot Project

ST. CLOUD (WCCO) — Chances are you’ve seen real court cases, like the OJ Simpson murder trial, on TV before. In fact, news cameras are allowed into courtrooms in most states, including Wisconsin and Iowa – but not Minnesota. That is, however, until Friday.

It’s part of a pilot project ordered by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Stearns County Judge Fred Grunke allowed a WCCO-TV crew and a still photographer from the St. Cloud Times into record a civil court hearing.

This is a motion for a retrial in the case of Froseth and Imdieke versus Avon State Bank. The case involves a Nigerian money scam, and Avon State Bank’s involvement in it.

A jury decided in January in favor of Gerald Von Korff’s clients, but Michael Ford, the attorney for the bank, is asking the judge for a retrial.

Judge Grunke is taking Friday’s arguments into account and will decide whether they’ll go to court again, or not.

In a statement saying why he would allow cameras to cover today’s proceeding, Judge Grunke wrote, “It is demeaning to suggest that the same candor, professionalism and zealous representation that prevailed during the trial will dissolve under the light of media coverage.”

WCCO-TV hopes that other judges will agree to the idea and that we will be able to bring you more stories from the court in the future.

  • Perry

    “It is demeaning to suggest that the same candor, professionalism and zealous representation that prevailed during the trial will dissolve under the light of media coverage.”

    How is it demeaning to suggest what is true?

    Cameras WILL affect behavior. It’s a variation of the Heisenberg effect.

    • gtV

      Considering all the media circuses that have have occurred in the history of American juris prudence your comment concerning the Heisenberg effect is right on.

      It’s not that I am against cameras in the court room but past and ongoing media history bear out the fact that the cameras do have an effect on the proceedings. That’s where the Heisenberg effect becomes apropo to the proceeding at hand. In today’s cyberspace world and instant access that’s where the uncertainty principle rears its Hydra-like heads affecting the outcomes.

      The visual media has a responsibility to maintain a level of decorum and dignity to its trial coverages. Unfortunately, that has not been the case in many instances. In fact, if cameras in the courtrooms were a constant entity without editorial commentaries, legal play-by-play analysis, and ‘sporting’ replays the general viewing audience might find the proceedings of justice boring. A legal proceeding is not a ‘media’ event nor a reality-show genre program.

      Cameras in the courtroom are great but only if they are used for informative reporting purposes. The commercial voyeurism and inflammatory fragmentation of the judicial process that the media probably is liable to do is scary. That’s the uncertainty of the this issue.

      Don’t you agree?

  • Tom

    long overdue. Congratulations to Judge Grunke for his leadership. He is bringing Minnesota courts closer to the successful use of cameras in courtrooms in some 39 states. Minnesota’s progressive approach to many issues is regrettably far behind on this one.

  • Lance Ito

    This is really stupid. Is the judge going to have a makeup artist and hair dresser in chambers?

    Will the lawyers be posturing trying to look good to get more clients?

    There are lots of potential down sides.
    What are the upsides? Why is this needed?

    BTW: “The other kids are doing it” is not a compelling argument.

  • The real marine 0311

    Down side, or not its great. The court room is a public place.

    • Frank Talk

      Yes it is. You can walk in, sit down and watch. But if you disrupt a case, you will be thrown out, or perhaps thrown in jail.

      The media is there to create entertainment. They will goad people into behavior that will be disruptive.

      In case you haven’t noticed, the media is also heavily biased. They will chose what you see and give slanted coverage that is the opposite of the truth.

  • OJay

    I wanna watch the Amy Sensor trail!!!!!!!!

  • OJay

    My bad “trial”

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