“While carrying the George Zimmerman murder trial live this afternoon, CNN accidentally broadcast the defendant’s full social security number, home address, and phone number on national television.
“Sanford police detective Doris Singleton was in the midst of testifying about her interview with Zimmerman following his detention when the prosecuting lawyer pulled up a copy of the “narrative report” for the court to view. The court video feed then showed, in close-up, as the lawyer zoomed in on Zimmerman’s personal information.”
Sorry, sensational trail fans, but that should be it. Our careless, incompetent news media can’t be trusted to place cameras in the courtroom and protect the rights of the participants and the integrity of the justice system. Vigilantes and crazies mean to harm George Zimmerman and maybe anyone who dares to support him. Within minutes of CNN’s mistake, Twitter was alive with nasty tweets from many of these hateful and ignorant people, and there surely are many more. That CNN would blunder this badly is proof that the news media can’t be trusted.
The next best response by the judge would be to toss just CNN out, but realistically that network is no less trustworthy than any other. There should have been protocols and fail-safe measures in place to prevent a breach of Zimmerman’s privacy to this extent. Broadcasting a defendant’s social security information is strike one, two and three. The news media is unprofessional and negligent.
Kick them all out.
34 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin Ethics Trainwreck Update: The Cameras And Reporters Should Be Kicked Out Of The Zimmerman Courtroom”
Does this give Mr. Zimmerman grounds to due CNN? I mean of course after his present difficulties are resolved.
Grounds to sue*
I didn’t know that.. That is just a horrible invasion of privacy that the defendant has no control over. There has to be retribution for a personal attack like this, no?
Is this worse that Fox broadcasting a suicide live?
It may be worse than ABC broadcasting Colin Farrell’s “The New World”
I’d take “The New World” on continuous loop before any “Keeping up with
the Kardashians” episode, or any Chicago Bears game where they’re not getting whupped by my Packers!
While I actually like the idea of a live courtroom feed, I don’t see any reason for an individual network feed. Just have one standard feed that all the news networks must share. But broadcasting Zimmerman’s personal information is just inexcusable.
It already is one feed. A private company installed the cameras, some are remotely controlled, others have operators. All TV Stations & Networks are taking the exact same feed out of the courtroom.
Inexcusable and foreseeable and yet we’re told over and over again to relax and let the authorities take care of things. The news reports of “unexpected” consequences to stupid excesses never seem to end. But just let any congress person suggest reading through bills before they’re passed, or worst of all just saying no to increased government overreach and the bigot hater card flips out.
CNN – unwilling to be outdone by NBC – opens itself to a lawsuit for broadcasting Zimmerman’s personal information.
Don’t cut off the live feed ! For me the ethical benefit of the courtroom feed is that it cuts out the middlemen and the lens of distortion they apply. For example, when I can see Officer Serino under direct- and cross-examination I can make up my own mind as to how his evidence tends to support one side or the other. To take the feed away is to force us to rely on second-hand information – hearsay, anyone – and as such would be a huge step backwards. Of course, it would also give the media a benefit, in terms of restoration of their exclusivity, as a consequence of their wrongdoing.
But you aren’t a mber of the jury. When it boils down to it, you DON’T need to see what’s going on.
For a highly politicized and already distorted case as this one, it is nice to see if Mr. Zimmerman gets a fair trial, but ultimately we have to trust that the jury is going to be fair. But that will happen or not happen regardless of cameras.
We don’t need cameras at this point to know that some of our elected officials are willing to violate the sanctity of due process and abuse their authority by weighing in on this.
We already know the media is willing to violate the sanctity of due process.
“We already know the media is willing to violate the sanctity of due process.” – I don’t think you know what “due process” is.
Due process is the balance the power between the state and the individual. The police investigation and this trial are due process.
The press affects due process by unjustly prejudicing the process by unethical misrepresentation and pressuring law enforcement officials to behave unethically. “Violate” isn’t the best word. “Distort,” “interfere with,” “corrupt”…those work better. The thought is correct, however.
There is no reason why George Zimmerman, rather than thousands of other defendants, many accused of far worse crimes, should have his trial subjected to this kind of distorting public scrutiny, except that irresponsible members of the media as well as race-baiters and politicians seek to create racial discord for political gain successfully made the case into something it never was.
This case seems to be politically motivated to advance certain social agendas and gun control. It reminds me of a Soviet era “show trial” where guilt is automatic and the “show” has nothing to do with justice. Were it not for the troublesome American jury system, the presumption of innocence, and the evidence (or lack thereof), I would expect that Mr. Zimmerman’s future would be many years behind bars.
I think the judge will have a hard time not ordering a directed verdict for the defense.
Jack, can you explain the “directed verdict”? Is that what may come at the end of the prosecutions case based on a motion from the defense?
If, at the conclusion of the state’s case, the judge finds that the state hasn’t, as a matter of law, met its burden of proof, and that no jury could fairly find that Zimmerman was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then upon motion from the defense he could dismiss all charges, and the case would never go to the jury.
Thanks, I thought that may be it.
Considering she granted a prosecution motion to have the senior investigator’s response to “did you believe George Zimmerman?” (he answered Mr. O’Mara “yes”) struck from the record, and the manner in which it was done, I doubt that will happen. She has been VERY pro-prosecution during the entire process.
Let’s see if she has the guts to do it.
“There is no reason why George Zimmerman, rather than thousands of other defendants, many accused of far worse crimes, should have his trial subjected to this kind of distorting public scrutiny, except that irresponsible members of the media as well as race-baiters and politicians seek to create racial discord for political gain successfully made the case into something it never was.”
CNN in the morning features airhead Ashley Banfield twisting every bit of testimony into evidence against George Zimmerman.
It really is a pathetic display.
Presumably this was an exhibit? The Prosecution and/or Defense had an obligation to redact that information given the media attention here. They are just as culpable as the stupid networks.
Yes, but the lawyers have to be there. The cameras don’t.
But the lawyers will know (in advance) that the cameras will be there. I would assume that triggers a duty to redact all personal information. That might be sanctionable conduct.
I don’t see why lawyers should be obligated to alter their conduct one iota because of the camera’s intrusion. Should the lawyer also court public opinion, and play to the TV audience rather than the jury? The judge allowed the cameras, the judge should be responsible for making sure HER decision doesn’t harm the participants in the trial…along with the camera’s owners, of course.
It’s standard practice to redacted all such information in civil litigation. I can’t imagine that the standard is lower in criminal cases. I’m going to check with an ADA friend of mine and see.
Jack, I agree 100%! Trials do not belong on television. This includes OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, Jody Arias, or George Zimmerman. It mocks the legal process, turning it into a circus. Why not have public hangings? It’s the same exact thing. I’m reminded of the crowds watching executions by guillotine during the French Revolution or public hangings in Victorian England.
I just want to mention that the judge looks like Chris Farley in drag.
I mean, seriously…
I defy you to tell me that I am wrong!!
Once again, CNN makes a mockery of the court by failing to block the Skype user name of a professor testifying via.
What a joke.
I’m going to spend tomorrow celebrating the country we once WERE.
I am disappointed because I had not read in this thread since yesterday, and returned just now, hoping for an update that said the media had been kicked out. Silly me! The things I hope for! I guess the odds were lower than for a coup in Egypt that would sideline the Muslim Brotherhood.