Judge: No video in sniper trial

The trial of accused Washington, D.C., sniper Lee Malvo will not be open to
cameras or microphones, Judge Jane Roush of Fairfax, Va., ruled Monday.

Although she will not allow video or still cameras, there will be a
closed-circuit feed so that media unable to get a seat in the courtroom can
watch the trial from another room.

According to the Radio-Television News Directors Association -- which had made the Jan. 30 request for cameras at the
trail and pre-trial proceedings -- Judge Roush expressed concern that extensive
media coverage could prejudice Malvo's ability to get a fair trial elsewhere if
there are further trials in the cases of the other sniper killings.

The RTNDA had been joined by a number of other media in the request, including
the major news networks and D.C.-area TV and radio stations.

RTNDA president Barbara Cochran said she was disappointed by the decision:
"The people of Washington, Maryland and Virginia were personally affected by the
sniper shootings, and they deserve to see firsthand how justice is served," she said
in a prepared statement.

Essentially the same group of petitioners lost out in an earlier bid to gain
video access to the trial of the other accused D.C. sniper, John Allen Muhammad,
when Judge LeRoy Millette ruled in December that while he would allow still
cameras, he would not allow video due to its affect on witnesses and
because it could be a distraction to jurors.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.