Letter to the Editor


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Dear Editor:

In a Nov. 29 article regarding some of the many activities of The Missouri Bar, I was quoted as follows regarding the use of still and video cameras by the news media in Missouri courtrooms: "The bar has discussed it and we didn't think it was a question of whether we're going to do it, it was a question of when and putting the procedures together."

While this is an accurate quote, I fear that it misrepresents The Missouri Bar's ability to make a change in current court rules, which ban the use of such equipment in the courtrooms. In fact, only the Supreme Court of Missouri, through a revision of its rules, may change the long-standing ban on the coverage of court activities via audio recordings, still cameras or videotape.

Regardless, this is an issue in which The Missouri Bar has a great deal of interest. In 1979, the state bar submitted a proposal to the Supreme Court of Missouri which, if adopted, would have set up an experimental pilot program to allow audio and photographic coverage of the courts. Although this proposal was not approved by the court, the state bar's position regarding the issue remains the same.

A great number of groups and organizations, including those representing the broadcast media, have urged the Supreme Court to set up such a program. Indeed, it is a virtual certainty that Missouri's courts will eventually be opened up -- with limitations -- to such coverage. When that happens, however, it will be accomplished through rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri, not by The Missouri Bar.


Doreen Dodson

President of

The Missouri Bar