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Mississippi courts to test cameras

You can now spell Mississippi with another eye, the electronic kind.

The Radio-Television News Directors Association Monday praised the decision
by the Mississippi Supreme Court to test broadcast coverage of some state
courtrooms, including its own.

The test begins July 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2004, unless extended by the high

At the discretion of the judge, TV and still cameras will be allowed in the
state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Chancery Courts, Circuit Courts and
County Courts.

Excluded will be Municipal Courts and Justice (small claims) Courts, whose
proceedings are not transcribed for appeal purposes.

If the test proves a success, Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwin
L. Pittman said, coverage may be extended to those courts, as well, according to
the RTNDA, which has been pushing the state to allow cameras.

The Mississipi Supreme Court had already allowed Webcasting of its
proceedings since 2001, with that feed also available to broadcasters. Up until
2001, it and South Dakota had been the only two states not allowing at least
some form of electronic media in at least some of their courts (South Dakota
became the 50th and final state to relent in July 2001).

For a state-by-state outline of cameras in the court, check out