Gavel Grab

Public May See Prop 8 Trial Video, Judge Rules

U.S. District Judge James Ware has ruled that the public may view video of the 12-day trial in San Francisco last year over the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, called Proposition 8.

“Foremost among the aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process are public access to trials and public access to the record of judicial proceedings,” Judge Ware wrote, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.

Then-Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the ban. Ahead of the trial, Judge Walker said he would permit court-operated cameras in his courtroom for the proceedings, and video could be released on a delayed basis on YouTube, but the U.S. Supreme Court pulled the plug on that idea in a 5-4 ruling (see Gavel Grab).

In the dispute decided this week, foes of Proposition 8 urged unsealing of the video recordings, while proponents of the ban argued that the Supreme Court decision extended to release of the video.

Judge Ware concluded that because the trial was past, the Supreme Court ruling did not give compelling reasons to deny public access to the video.


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