Real Time Coverage Banned In Cleveland Trial

The federal judge presiding over the corruption trial of a former Cuyahoga County Commissioner has entered an order that bans live blogging and tweeting from the courthouse during the trial. Note that I used the word courthouse rather than courtroom. That’s significant, because there is a media room in the courthouse where reporters can observe the trial via a closed circuit TV feed. But given the sweeping scope of the court’s order, those reporters will not be able to tweet or blog real time updates from that vantage point. The court’s order doesn’t give any reason for the order. Obviously, there must be some concern greater than a fear that the use of electronic devices inside the courtroom would be distracting. This order applies well beyond the courtroom. It’s possible that the court is concerned with the defendant’s fair trial rights. But so long as the court admonishes the jury not to view news reports, it’s hard to see how this order advances that goal. It does seem to go against the notion that criminal trials are for public consumption. I suspect whatever bad stuff that Jimmy Dimora (the defendant) did was done behind closed doors. It’s too bad the court has seen fit to keep that door closed.