Judge reserves decision on cameras in courtroom for Bryan Kohberger trial

Posted at 6:13 PM, September 13, 2023 and last updated 8:16 PM, September 13, 2023

By: Christine Coates

LATAH COUNTY, Idaho (Scripps News Boise) — Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of murdering four University of Idaho students last November, was back in court in Latah County on Wednesday.

Kohberger currently faces charges of first-degree murder and burglary in the slayings of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin.

bryan kohberger appears in court

Bryan Kohberger, second from left, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, is escorted out of the courtroom as two of his attorneys, Anne Taylor, second from right, and Jay Logsdon, right, confer following a hearing in Latah County District Court, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)

The State and the defense have both presented preliminary arguments expressing their desire to keep cameras out of the courtroom, though the media has filed a motion to “intervene,” requesting that cameras be allowed to be present.

When Judge John Judge questioned the right of the media to intervene in the issue surrounding the allowance of cameras in the courtroom, the attorney representing the media immediately began arguments about public access and an increasing need for people to see for themselves what is going on.

The judge continued to express his thoughts that the media cannot be considered as “intervenors” at this point, but will take that argument under consideration when deciding whether or not to allow cameras in the courtroom for future proceedings.

The defense expressed their concern for the spectacle that could be created by allowing cameras inside, more based on the manipulation of video and images for public consumption.

The defense team suggested that if one camera is allowed, it be positioned somewhere else so that it is not directly behind the defense team.

The state, although acknowledging the media plays an important role in the judicial process, is concerned about protecting vulnerable witnesses and graphic evidence, arguing the best way to achieve this is to keep cameras out, or at least limit the times cameras can be used.

The judge expressed that he believes the media has already “pushed the envelope,” and cited the OJ Simpson case as an example of cameras in the courtroom creating a “circus.” His concerns, he says, are in how commentators talk about video and how it is used.

The attorney for the media continued to argue that without cameras, people are left to speculate without having the video to convey what actually happened, and perhaps a better solution would be to keep cameras in the courtroom, but disallow cameras outside of the courtroom.

The defense pointed out their goal is not to keep the media out, just the cameras.

The judge will take the arguments into consideration, including the suggestion of possibly moving the location of the camera within the courtroom. He will issue a written ruling at a later date.

This story was originally published, by Scripps News Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.