It has been an interesting week for media in the courtroom. As I reported on my legal tech blawg, Cyber-Esq., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday to indefinitely block televising California’s same-sex marriage trial.
On Tuesday, the Kansas Supreme Court issued an order to Judge Warren Wilbert, commanding him to reconsider a ruling excluding all media outlets from the abortion murder trial of Scott Roeder. Roeder is on trial for the shooting of Dr. George Tiller inside a Wichita church last May. Dr. George Tiller worked at a family planning clinic that performed late-term abortions, one of only a few in the country. Roeder is pictured above.
Judge Wilbert has come under close scrutiny after ruling that Roeder could present the defense of voluntary manslaughter, even though the undisputed facts of the case demonstrate that Roeder pre-meditated the shooting of Dr. Tiller. Even Roeder does not dispute the charges against him.
Despite the Kansas Supreme Court ruling, however, Judge Wilbert has ordered that media outlets can only be present after the jury selection process has narrowed the pool of potential jurors to 42. According to media reports on the judge’s order, he is apparently assuming that none of the potential jurors would want to be questioned in public about “sensitive” issues.
You can link to a Washington Post article discussing these developments here.