TV coverage of federal trials backed by panel

April 19, 1994|By Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- A federal judicial committee voted yesterday to allow television coverage of federal criminal trials, the first step toward relaxing a half-century-old ban on such broadcasts.

If the proposal makes it through several more layers of review, federal criminal trials could be televised and broadcast on radio starting in about two years -- experimentally.

TV broadcasts of criminal trials are allowed in 39 states, but a ban has existed under a federal court rule. Yesterday's action by a rules advisory committee was the opening move toward ending that ban.

Broadcasts could occur only if the ban is lifted by the U.S. Judicial Conference, the policy-making arm of the federal courts, and approved by the Supreme Court and Congress. Most rule changes that get Supreme Court approval are accepted routinely by Congress.

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