Tag: USSC

For more information on cameras in the courtroom, read our book chapter on “Court TV”

I worked with my colleague Chuck Kleinhans at Northwestern University on a media study of the cable channel “Court TV.”  While the current channel “TruTV” has roots in Court TV, they are really nothing alike.  Court TV was owned by a lawyer and went courtroom-by-courtroom across the country fighting for access for cameras to the courtroom.  They learned how to “do it right” in the broadcast of court proceedings – no easy feat.  You don’t want to just dump any set of technologists into a courtroom and expect everything to be alright.  Judges became experienced in how to handle cameras.  The legacy of their early successes remain in most states today.

Chuck and I watched Court TV for ten years to do our study.  It is humanities-oriented (ie not quantitative) and a fun read. Court TV provided live gavel-to-gavel coverage of fascinating cases from divorces to small claims court.  It provided post-trial interpretation by experts and in the early years, it even had continuing-education programs for lawyers.  Court TV was not able to sustain sufficient ratings and transformed into the popular-cime-drama/docu genre that it is now.

Here is the citation: Chuck Kleinhans and Rick Morris, “Court TV: The Evolution of a Reality Format,” Startling! Heartbreaking!Real! Reality TV and the Remaking of Television Culture, Laurie Ouellette and Sue Murray, eds., (New York: NYU Press, 2004), 157-175  Note that this is the FIRST  edition of the book.  Laurie and Sue went on to do a second edition and Court TV had transformed into TruTV by then so our chapter did not make it through to the second edition.

Are your text messages private at work?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether privacy rights covered a worker’s personal text message on employer-owned equipment, hearing a case about a police officer who sent sexually explicit messages from his department-issued pager.

Medialawprofessor comment: This could be a landmark case. While it involves privacy, it also crosses the line into employment law and certainly can help define the developing cyberlaw. The case is: 08-1332 ONTARIO, CA, ET AL. V. QUON, JEFF, ET AL. Cert granted by USSC on 12/14/09.  The usual test for privacy is whether a person has an “expectation” of privacy.  If you are standing on a public street corner, you do not have an expectation of privacy.  If you are inside of your own house, however, you do have an expectation of privacy.  When using employer equipment, ie cellphones, pagers, email, etc. the past cases have usually come down clearly that the employee does not have an expectation of privacy as to his or her employer looking at their emails, etc. that are hosted on company property (email servers).  Could this grant of cert be a signal that the USSC is going to change the majority rule?