There is no way of describing in the transcript a facial expression, and that is EXACTLY WHY intermediate Appellate Courts in New York duck their duty of reviewing facts of the case de novo (even though they have such authority) and "defer" to the trial determinations of the court whose decision is appealed.
There is nothing easier to correct that than to require videotaping of court proceedings, and to allow private parties to videotape their own proceedings, especially the proceedings which are PUBLIC.
It makes no sense to not allow videotaping of PUBLIC proceedings for PRIVACY reasons.
Yet, the New York State Court system has obtained dismissals of our federal court challenges to Civil Rights Law 52, in one case with sanctions and attorney fees of the court system (the violator of constitutional rights) against us, a civil rights plaintiff and his attorney - in the amount of $6,995 each.
It is not a pun - a civil rights plaintiff and a civil rights attorney were each sanctioned and made to pay $6,995 for filing a civil rights lawsuit challenging constitutionality of state Civil Rights Law that prohibits litigants and members of the public to document, as a matter of their civil rights, access to court and evidence in court proceedings.
The name of the case is Neroni v Becker, the deciding federal judge was Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York Gary L. Sharpe whose son "coincidentally" worked in the office of the New York State Attorney General at the time NYS AG was litigating the case against us in front of Gary L. Sharpe.
The same person who obtained such a dismissal, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, immediately announced in one of his previous "State of Judiciary Addresses" the plans for "Cameras in the courtroom", and that idea, after being prominently pronounced off the high pulpit, quietly died.
I wrote on this blog about consistent attempts of the court system to destroy and deny access to video footage of security cameras in courthouses, especially when what I seek is clearly evidence of judicial misconduct.
So far I was denied such video footage because:
- I needed to come to the courthouse after closing of the court day (17:00) and sit there for 8 hours (until 1 am) reviewing the tapes, because the NYS Court Administration refused to comply with FOIL and provide me a copy of the video footage; of course, nobody opened the courthouse for me after hours;
- after I made one FOIL request, the Court Administration suddenly discovered that the security video cameras/recorders were broken - which was a lie, because I was in that same courthouse every day on the dates of video footage and saw court attendants observe the split-screens with security footage, as usual; the Court Administation denied me copies of records showing payment for repairs of video recorders;
- After I made another FOIL request, the Court Administration claimed that the footage was "inadvertently" written over, even though I requested the footage immediately after the events, and in answer to my previous FOIL request the Court Administration told me that the courts keep the footage for 30 days.
So, we have two rules:
1) the public and litigants are not allowed to videotape court proceedings, under the threat of criminal prosecution, Civil Rights (!) Law 52;
2) the public and litigants are not allowed to see security footage, even though it is allowed by FOIL and FOIL requests are presumed to be made in public interest.
BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT
The Court Administration has built a brand spanking new courthouse in Staten Island where secuity cameras are now spying on confidential discussions between litigants and their attorneys in conference rooms!
That is allowed, that is proper, that is lawful, that is not a civil rights violation.
Of course, it is claimed not to be spying on confidential communications, but being done "for security reasons" only.
Of course, a criminal defense attorney would tell such well-wishers of the attorney's security to get the ****, you know...
Courtroom security is important, but everybody is checked by metal detectors at the entrance to the courthouse.
Of course, attorneys come to the courthouse through secure passes, bypassing metal detectors. So, then, it is the attorneys that are the danger to security, because they are the ONLY people who can have anything on them that would warrant cameras.
But, then, all EMPLOYEES of the courthouse, including JUDGES, come through the back door, bypassing metal detectors. And some retired judges who are hanging in, are doing that, too.
So, aren't we discriminating against defense attorneys here? Aren't we?
Of course, one civil rights group does not consider it proper and reportedly plans to file a civil rights lawsuit.
That civil rights group is a legal aid society. All other attorneys are happy that their confidential communications with clients and witnesses are recorded. No surprises here - you want to practice, shut up and brown-nose the system - or go work for the Legal Aid society where you will not earn that much...
Yet, knowing how civil rights courts treat civil rights cases brought by civil rights plaintiffs and civil rights attorneys against other courts, I will hold my breath as to the outcome, but I will follow it and report any developments of such a possible lawsuit on this blog.