LAS VEGAS — Adult industry attorney Marc Randazza has struck another blow for First Amendment rights, this time taking on famed criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz and the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Randazza won his bid to allow Courtroom View Network (CVN) to broadcast the proceedings in a case involving Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen who claims Sands owes him money for helping the casino company secure a gaming license in Macau territory.
According to a CVN statement, Dershowitz argued to exclude CVN’s gavel-to-gavel coverage, but Clark County District Judge Rob Bare ruled in favor of Randazza who said the media should be permitted to broadcast because the courtrooms belong to the people, and they have the right to observe the courts.
“Without access to information, there is no free press," Randazza said. “While it was a privilege to argue against Mr. Dershowitz, it was more of an honor to secure a First Amendment win for the press and public.”
Bare said, “What better way to demonstrate to the public that its courts are fair and just that to say to the public, ‘come and view the proceedings yourself and judge for yourself.’”
Commenting on Randazza’s victory, First Amendment champion and colleague Paul Cambria told XBIZ, “ I am not surprised by this ruling at all. Civil cases should all be broadcast and most are. It is the criminal case that should not be broadcast. I don’t care what anyone says, I have tried numerous high profile criminal cases and when they are broadcast it prejudices the defendant. I really can’t think of a reason a judge would not rule this way in a civil case. No one goes to jail or loses liberty, its only about money.”
Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and a former photojournalist in both print and broadcast for 40 years, told XBIZ that he is very pleased that the judge in this case has seen fit to have a truly "open" courtroom in a trial that is a matter of public interest to so many people in Nevada who may not have the ability to attend.
“If the Justices of the Supreme Court had been as open-minded the public would not have been denied the ability to actually see and hear the recent DOMA and Prop 8 arguments. To quote Justice Harlan in the 1965 Supreme Court decision in Estes v. Texas (the first case dealing with cameras in the courtroom) 'the day may come when television will have become so commonplace an affair in the daily life of the average person as to dissipate all reasonable likelihood that its use in courtrooms may disparage the judicial process.' Forty-eight years later that day has long since passed," Osterreicher said.
CVN has broadcast more than 700 trails nationwide. The Sands case will be tried in Las Vegas.