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GAO: Florida Court Uses Video Judiciously

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Live video coverage of Florida Supreme Court oral arguments is benefitting public understanding of the judiciary, according to the U.S. General Accountability Office.

Congress ordered the GAO study as it looks into the possibility of allowing cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court. Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters says since cable, satellite and web coverage began in 1997, there has been no evidence of attorney grandstanding, as some critics feared.

“You really don’t have time to multi-task and start thinking about cameras and how you’re looking on the camera. You are totally focused on the interests of your client as you are presenting them to the highest court in Florida.”

Waters says U.S. Supreme Court administrators remain skeptical because of the high-stakes nature of their cases. But Waters says cameras were not a distraction when the Florida Supreme Court was weighing the 2000 presidential recount before a national audience.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.