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OpenCourt: Quincy Court Opens To The Public

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This article is more than 11 years old.

[livestream]http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/opencourt?layout=4&color=0xe7e7e7&autoPlay=false&mute=false&iconColorOver=0x888888&iconColor=0x777777&allowchat=true[/livestream]

Starting Monday, anyone with an Internet connection can see what's going on in Quincy District Court. In an experimental project run by WBUR and funded by the Knight News Challenge, all proceedings will be live-streamed and an on-site blogger will provide full multimedia access.

The project is called OpenCourt.us and the idea is that transparent courts make for a stronger democracy, according to Judge Mark Coven, the first justice of the Quincy District Court.

While the court is already open to the public, the groundbreaking online project offers insight into the judicial process that many people haven't yet seen.

"I do think that this will enhance the public’s right to both know what happens in the court system and to be involved in this very important role that we play in a democratic society," Coven said.

Coven and other advocates hope that showcasing the inner workings of the judicial system online and making the system completely transparent will strengthen the public's ties to the court.

"I’m hoping that what this experiment will show is how the public will gain trust and support of an independent judiciary and what happens in the court system," Coven said. "And have a better understanding of what the courts can and should be doing."

UPDATE:
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey expressed concerns that archiving court video might taint a potential jury pool. OpenCourt will suspend archival footage until further review. Here's the letter Morrissey sent to WBUR's John Davidow, the director of OpenCourt.us:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/54697215/OpenCourt-Archived-Video-Concerns-Letter

You can also view the letter on Scribd.

This program aired on May 2, 2011.

Bob Oakes Twitter Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.

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