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OpenCourt Memo to Supreme Judicial Court -- 07/27/2012

OpenCourt Memo to Supreme Judicial Court -- 07/27/2012

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Published by WBUR
OpenCourt's memo in response to petitions of the Norfolk County District Attorney and CPCS for "injunctive relief" from Quincy District Court judges who would allow OpenCourt's news coverage.
OpenCourt's memo in response to petitions of the Norfolk County District Attorney and CPCS for "injunctive relief" from Quincy District Court judges who would allow OpenCourt's news coverage.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: WBUR on Jul 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/27/2012

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COMMONWEALTHOFMASSACHUSETTSSUPREMEJUDICIALCOURTFORTHECOUNTYOFSUFFOLK
THEDISTRICTATTORNEYFORTHENORFOLKDISTRICT,Plaintiff,v.JUSTICESOFTHEQUINCYDISTRICTCOURT,Defendant.TRUSTEESOFBOSTONUNIVERSITY,d/b/aWBUR-FMandOPENCOURT,Intervenor.No.SJ-2012-306ANTHONYBENEDETTI,CHIEFCOUNSEL,COMMITTEEFORPUBLICCOUNSELSERVICES,Plaintiff,v.JUSTICESOFTHEQUINCYDIVISIONOFTHEDISTRICTCOURTDEPARTMENTOFTHETRIALCOURTOFTHECOMMONWEALTH,Defendant.TRUSTEESOFBOSTONUNIVERSITY,d/b/aWBUR-FMandOPENCOURT,Intervenor.No.SJ-2012-308
MEMORANDUMOFTRUSTEESOFBOSTONUNIVERSITY,
D/B/A
WBUR-FMAND
OPENCOURT
INRESPONSETOPETITIONSUNDERG.L.c.211§3OFTHEDISTRICTATTORNEYFORTHENORFOLKDISTRICTANDANTHONYBENEDETTI,CHIEFCOUNSEL,COMMITTEEFORPUBLICCOUNSELSERVICES
TrusteesofBostonUniversity,d/b/aWBUR-FMandOpenCourt("OpenCourt")herebyrespondstotheemergencypetitionsforrelieffiledinthetwoabove-captionedactionsbytheDistrictAttorneyfortheNorfolkDistrict(the"NorfolkDA"orthe"DA")andtheCommitteeforPublicCounselServices("CPCS"andsometimes,collectivelywiththeNorfolkDA,the"Petitioners").TheNorfolkDA'sandCPCS'spetitions(respectively,the"NorfolkDAPetition"
 
andthe"CPCSPetition"andsometimes,collectively,the"Petitions")concernOpenCourt'songoingmediacoverageofpublicproceedingsthattakeplaceatQuincyDistrictCourt.ThereliefsoughtbyPetitionerswoulddramaticallylimitOpenCourt's(andonlyOpenCourt's)abilitytocovercourtproceedingsinQuincy.
An
injunctionbarringOpenCourtfromQuincyDistrictCourtJuryRoomAwoulddirectlycontravenethestrongpresumptioninfavorofpressaccesstopublicproceedingssetforthinSupremeJudicialCourtRule1:19("Rule1:19").ForthereasonssetforthhereinandintheaccompanyingAffidavitofJohnDavidow(the"DavidowAffidavit"or"DavidowAff."),acopyofwhichisannexedheretoasExhibitA,thePetitionsshouldberejectedandthereliefrequesteddenied,casesbroughtbyPetitionersagainsttheJusticesoftheQuincyDistrictCourtshouldbedismissed,andOpenCourtshouldbepermittedtocontinuetooperateinQuincyDistrictCourt.
INTRODUCTIONANDBACKGROUND
1.AsthisCourtisaware,WBUR,BostonUniversity'spublicradiostation,wasawardedagrantbytheKnightFoundationtoestablishtheOpenCourtproject.Formorethanayear,sinceMay2011,OpenCourthaslivestreamedandofferedaccesstoanarchiveofaudiovisualrecordingsofproceedingsinQuincyDistrictCourt'sFirstSessionthroughitswebsite(http://www.opencourt.us).OpenCourthasalsoofferedfreeWiFitothoseinthegalleryatthecourthouse,enablingmembersofthepublictoattendandblogaboutcourtproceedings.2.IncoveringproceedingsintheFirstSession,OpenCourthasgonetogreatlengthstoworkwithstakeholdersattheQuincyDistrictCourt.OpenCourtdevelopedguidelinesandbestpractices;createdsignstoalertthoseinthecourtroomofthepresenceofcameras;decidednottocovercertaintypesofproceedings;conductedtrainingswithcourtpersonnelandotherswhoregularlyconductbusinessintheQuincyDistrictCourt;implementedprocessestoallow
1
 
attorneys,litigants,andotherstorequestredactionstoarchivedrecordings;formedanAdvisoryBoardwithawide-rangingmembership(includingrepresentativesoftheNorfolkDA'soffice);andcreatedaWorkingGroupCommitteetoencouragediscussionofpotentialconcernsaboutOpenCourt'slivestreamingandarchivingactivities.OpenCourttookallofthesestepsnotduetorequirementsimposedbytheS.J.C.Judiciary-MediaCommittee,theQuincyDistrictCourt,orMassachusettslawbutasacourtesytothosewithbusinessbeforetheQuincyDistrictCourt.DavidowAff.at~7.3.OpenCourt'sday-to-dayoperationsinQuincyhaveproceededsmoothlyandhavebeenwell-receivedbymembersofthepublic,whohaveexpressedtheirappreciationforOpenCourt'sworkinfacilitatingatransparentjudicialprocess.DavidowAff.at~7.TheNorfolkDAhasfileddozensofmotionsseekingtoprohibitOpenCourtfromlivestreamingorarchivingspecificproceedings.Thosemotionsweregenerallydenied.DavidowAff.at~21.TwocasesarisingoutofOpenCourt'sactivitiesintheFirstSessiononebroughtbytheNorfolkDAonbehalfoftheCommonwealthandanotherbroughtbyCPCSonbehalfofacriminaldefendant-reachedtheSupremeJudicialCourtlastfall;inasingleconsolidateddecision,theCourtruledinfavorofOpenCourt,holdingthattheDistrictCourtcouldnotissueordersrequiringredactionstoOpenCourt'sarchivedaudiovisualrecordingsbecausesuchorderswouldconstituteunlawfulpriorrestraintsandthatOpenCourtwaspermittedtocontinuetolivestreamandarchiveproceedingsinQuincyDistrictCourt.Commw.v.Barnes,461Mass.644(2012).4.
It
wasneverintendedthatOpenCourt'scoverageinQuincywouldbelimitedtotheFirstSession,andtheprojectalwaysenvisionedcoveringjurytrials.DavidowAff.at~6.Throughoutlate-2011andearly-2012,OpenCourtworkedwiththeQuincyDistrictCourtandwithJeffersonAudioVideoServices(alk/a!"JAVS")-whichprovidesaudioandvideoservices2

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