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High Court Hears Arguments In OpenCourt Case

The state’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday about whether the pilot program OpenCourt can archive video of court hearings online, over the objection of prosecutors.

At issue is whether OpenCourt, a program run by WBUR that live streams video from Quincy District Court, has the right to archive video of a hearing that involved a minor who was sexually abused.

OpenCourt's lawyer argued it would not publish the victim's name, but it has a First Amendment right to make that choice, rather than be ordered by the court.

But Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Varska Kukafka called posting the hearing on the Internet a further assault. Justice Ralph Gants asked her how the archived video should be treated.

"It’s not a court record, it, that’s the question, what is it, and that’s what this court should decide. So you are saying it is a court record even though it’s physically in the possession of 'BUR?"

"Yes."

The lawyer for OpenCourt said WBUR should not be restricted from publishing information that has already been covered in other mainstream media.

This program aired on November 8, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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