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snopes
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Comment: Have you heard of the Leica M camera? If you have a photographer friend,
perhaps they can tell you of how highly regarded it is in the photographic
world.

Anyhow, the reason why I'm writing to you is because of this "myth" repeated
many times by Leica lovers that "Leica cameras are the only cameras allowed
in American courts because of their legendary silence"

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lawguy
We Three Blings


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Not true, interesting, but not true.

First, many courts (every court in my state) still do not allow cameras of any type. The various states and smaller jurisdictions have their own rules. There is no uniform rule in this country about cameras.

Second, the federal court system still does not allow cameras at all. If it was possible to have a camera rule in "American courts", it would have to be in the federal system which is the only nationwide court system there is.

Third, in those jurisdictions which do allow cameras, each judge has discretion to control what and how the cameras are deployed. Again, even in these jurisdictions, there is no uniformity.

Finally, even if this was true in some court in the past, print journalists frequently now use digital cameras of high megapixel resolution. Of course, nearly every digital camera is silent.

--------------------
"I've argued in front of every judge in this state, often as a lawyer."

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KeithB
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Maybe the legend is actually the only camera *sneaked* inside American Courts.

I remember one sneaked shot of a woman being executed. The camera was strapped to the photographer's leg.

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lawguy
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Also, another possibility is that an individual judge or jurisdiction may have had such a rule.

--------------------
"I've argued in front of every judge in this state, often as a lawyer."

Posts: 1021 | From: Northwest Indiana | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by KeithB:
I remember one sneaked shot of a woman being executed. The camera was strapped to the photographer's leg.

That was the execution of Ruth Snyder in 1928 at Sing Sing(NY).
quote:
Perhaps the most controversial picture ever taken was that of Ruth Snyder’s death on the electric chair. Snyder had been convicted, along with Judd Gray, for the murder of her husband, Albert Snyder. The murder and the trial had been national sensations, and Snyder’s sentence made her the first woman ever to die on the electric chair. Several papers sent their fanciest writers to cover the event, but the News had the picture that told the story with stunning simplicity. The scene-Ruth Snyder, hooded, strapped in the wooden execution chair, with the one-word headline saying it all, DEAD!

The picture was extremely difficult to obtain, because no camera had ever been permitted in the death chamber. Prison officials took all precautions to ensure that the most highly publicized executions of the era would go unphotographed. In order to achieve its purpose, the Daily News had to overcome two problems. First, it was necessary to get the camera on the scene even though all witnesses were to be searched. The second obstacle was to get a photographer into the room without anyone knowing that he was a photographer. The News brought up Tom Howard from the Washington bureau of P. &A. Photographs. Since he was not known to any of the other reporters, it was assumed that he was a reporter. To get his picture, Howard strapped a small camera on his ankle and ran a long cable release up his leg and through a hole in his pants pocket. When time came for the picture to be captured, Howard hitched up his trousers cuff just far enough to clear the lens, set his leg in a position which he hoped would aim the camera at the chair, pushed the release. Once he opened the lens, he had to ease it back to close. The bulb exposure had to be made for two reasons. One reason was that fast lenses and fast emulsions had not been devised for making snapshots in artificial light, and the other was that the click of the shutter might be cause for alarm in the stillness of the crucial moment

I don't think the photo is particularly awful, but some might, so I'll link insead of showing it. Ruth Snyder--DEAD!!

Source


Back to the UL, I did find West Virginia court rules regarding cameras in the courtroom
quote:
Rule 2.2. Still photography equipment.

Only still camera equipment that does not produce distracting sound or light shall be employed to cover judicial proceedings. Specifically, such still camera equipment shall produce no greater sound than a 35mm Leica "M" Series Rangefinder camera, and no artificial lighting device of any kind shall be employed in connection with a still camera unless such lighting is approved by the presiding judge or magistrate prior to the proceeding.

Louisiana Supreme Court Policy for Media
quote:
Still cameras must not produce distracting sound and should produce no greater sound than the Leica M Series Rangefinder camera.
New York State Unified Courst System
quote:
still camera equipment shall produce no greater sound or light than a 35mm Leica "M" Series Rangefinder camera.
I foudn the same no-louder-than-a-Leica-M for courts in Florida, Quebec, New Jersey, New South Wales, Kentucky, and Maryland. Then I got tired of looking.

Kathy "in camera" B.

--------------------
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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