Judge in Manning Wikileaks trial rules crowdfunded stenographers should get permanent court access


Photo: Bradley Manning, via standwithbrad.org

Huge news from the Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm:

Bradley Manning’s defense lawyer David Coombs brought up our crowd-funded stenographers in court during the morning session, and we’re happy to say, once and for all, that the judge ruled the government must make permanent accomodations for the stenographers. The stenographers were in the media room yesterday on press passes borrowed from other media organizations.

The full transcript can be read here.

After the judge acknowledged the letter signed by over twenty major news organizations requesting the court issue to permanent press passes to the stenographers because of the limited public access to the trial, the defense argued the stenographers furthered Manning's First and Sixth Amendment rights:

Here are each day's court transcripts, filed from the courtroom by the stenographers.

Read the rest here. Kevin Gosztola has a related report here, from yesterday.

(Disclosure: I'm a proud board member on the FotPF)

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  1. Judge rules that if people are willing to pay out of their own pockets to ensure an accurate record of a trial then the government must grudgingly allow it!

    Looking forward to a judge allowing us to pay for our right to free speech.

    1. I, for one, pay for that. It’s called taxes, embedded in a larger framework called rule of law, and even: social contract. I am willing to continue that payment, and make other amends. But then, this is a different country…

      1. I’m not sure I agree that taxes pay for free speech.  Free speech is a protection of the people from the government, so all the government has to do to protect it is not oppress people.  I know that can be really hard, but I don’t think it costs a lot of money – it may even save money!  Taxes do, however, pay for court stenographers, except when they don’t.  It’s just sickening to me that it’s a “victory” that private citizens are *allowed* to pay to record someone’s trial.

        To be honest I also live in a different country, but I see the same way of thinking increasing every day.

        1. I’m not sure I agree that taxes pay for free speech. Free speech is a protection of the people from the government, so all the government has to do to protect it is not oppress people.

          That would be true if the government were one guy. The federal government, such as the Supreme Court, may defend free speech against a state or local government or against another branch of the federal government.

        2. They actually don’t pay for free speech, but they (as Antinous points out) pay for some institutions which might guarantee the protection of free speech.

          However, the anglo-saxon understanding, and in particular the US-american understanding of the rule of law, while including the The (federal) Gouvernment as a quite dangerous force which has to be kept in checks (rather than balances, actually) is quite different from other countries. Be aware that other countries have strong institutions which keep The Gouvernment in check and balcances with the constitution. In some countries, the courts even have a history of very important ruling to strengthen the rights and the freedom of people, because passed law was considered unconstitutional.

          This it costs some money, I can assure you. Here, the parliament will have to revise several laws at the current, and matters are far from settled.

          As I see it, it boils down to common law vs. civil law. While the civil law most unambiguously failed in the end of the 19th until just after the first half 20th century, the common law seems to be quite out of control since at least 2001.
          However, the civil law system of checks and balances still can fail magnificently. Just have a news search on Hungary, if you will.

          It will be also quite interesting to observe the developments in Turkey. Detaining >50 lawyers, that ought to be quite some interesting case in court in a civil law system.  In that particular case, it will also be thrilling to see the development because the public view of the law is still influenced by Ottomanic law, but the law system itself should be based on codified Central European civil law, AFAIK. And unlike in other countries, the Government has a history to lean on the courts.

          1. I’ll admit to being a bit facetious. Obviously it costs one branch of government money to protect people from another branch of government. It sure feels like it would be more cost effective for the government to avoid violating the constitution in the first place. I know that the reality is more complicated than that, but there is still some truth in it.

        3.  

          It’s just sickening to me that it’s a “victory” that private citizens are *allowed* to pay to record someone’s trial. 

          Agreed. :)

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