BY SEEMA IYER | COURT TV
This Thanksgiving, as I reflect on all that is good in this world, Court TV being back on the air, comes to both mind and heart.
The public craves transparency plus knowledge, with glimpses of real-life drama and never-ending suspense – and that is why I am thankful for cameras in the courtroom.
Simply put, there is no other single room that evokes so much mystery and emotion. There is no other forum that evokes so much drama and revulsion with the viewer constantly asking – “who done it?”
Court TV, in its original form, had been off the airwaves for almost a decade, leaving lovers of the law shut out of the judicial process.
Sure, there was court coverage in convenient sound bites or a documentary to satisfy your justice fix, plus the abundance of podcasts that take on the true-crime mantle. But who wants to only hear that which we can see? No one.
And that is why I am joined by legions of viewers, lawyers and journalists who are grateful – every day of the year – for cameras in the courtroom.
Vinnie Politan, lead anchor and host of Closing Arguments, echoes my sentiment, “I am thankful for cameras in the courtroom because it is OUR system of justice and we should be able to see what happens, and when we do, the public is better off.”
Although Court TV has only been back on the airwaves for over six months, there has been a slew of memorable moments the camera has captured.
Watching Brooke Skylar Richardson, the cheerleader found not guilty of killing her newborn baby, cry and shake made the audience shudder.
Whereas watching convicted murderess, Ezra McCandless, blush, squirm and bat her lush lashes behind her glasses when her ex-beau strode into court made us all internally scream “get a room!
And who can forget when McCandless’ ex, Jason Mengel, casually flipped his water bottle into the air after placing it on the defense table to be sworn in – raising his left hand when the clerk requested he raise his right.
Yes – that happened.
Politan points to a more poignant instance we observed, perhaps the most shocking in the history of televised trial coverage. “This summer the city of Dallas was torn by a guilty murder verdict of a police officer who shot and killed a wonderful innocent man named Botham Jean. Cameras in the courtroom showed us the moment when Botham’s brother asked the judge if he could hug the convicted killer. The Judge said yes, the hug happened and a moment of healing happened. A moment no one would have seen without the cameras.”
So, before you dig into that turkey and stuffing or flop on the couch to watch football, take a moment to wonder – where would we be had we never witnessed Johnnie Cochran’s iconic words, “if it doesn’t fit – you must acquit.” The OJ Simpson trial forever changed how the world followed the criminal justice system and on this Thanksgiving, I for one am grateful to welcome it back.
Welcome back Court TV.
Follow Seema Iyer at twitter.com/SeemaCourtTV