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Pilot Project Tests Photo Coverage in Stearns Co. Courts

jsawkins, Flickr

ST. CLOUD  (AP) — Several Minnesota courthouses have been opened to journalists’ cameras, part of a pilot program that could lead to expanded photo and video coverage of state trials.

One hearing Friday in Stearns County involved post-trial motions in a banking-fraud case. Attorneys and the judge said the cameras didn’t affect those proceedings, but the lawyers worried that cameras could cause problems for witnesses testifying in other cases.

The pilot project operates on the presumption that cameras will be allowed for a small set of civil cases. However, civil cases are often settled before hearings or rescheduled to accommodate criminal cases, so there have only been four cases where cameras have been allowed since July.

Cameras can increase transparency, but some worry they might dissuade witnesses from testifying.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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