In the world of iphones, cameras, and instant visual access, the idea that photography and video might not be instantly accessible is almost absurd.
However, the first time that still photography and video photography was allowed in a Connecticut Superior Court was for a New Hartford case. In June 1982, a ‘one-year experiment’ began which allowed television and still photography in the courtroom. The first case was the dispute over the tubing in the Satan’s Kingdom on the Farmingon River, which revolved mostly around zoning permits.
There were concerns that a fair trial would be prejudiced by the television cameras. The newspaper carefully noted that the camera followed the judge in; the location of the microphones throughout the room, that in order for the sound and picture to be transmitted cables were laid which ran out into the hallway where the technicians were, and how the technicians communicated with each other. The reporter noted though, that after a few minutes of continuous filming, the proceedings slowed ‘to a crawl.’ “The cameraman began to shut off the camera frequently, sitting down for long periods of time. The crew left during the lunch recess.”
The trial was not particularly affected by the cameras. Yet, the fact that the trial (which is part of a dispute that fills a good-sized folder) was more interesting for its television presence is notable. Technology is constantly shifting; to see that what we now take for granted was once nerve-wracking and newsworthy is a useful reminder.