“Anytime you stream a proceeding over the internet, you lose control over the content,” said Jennifer Storm with Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocates.
She said victims will be retraumatized, and witnesses could be harassed, intimidated or harmed.
“We rely so much, especially on homicide cases in Philadelphia, on witnesses, because they are so rare and so when you have one, you don’t want to add another barrier into their participation,” Storm explained.
As state law outlines, the livestreamed video is not to be recorded, but Storm said by streaming the video, there is no court oversight that it won’t happen.
“It could hurt the offender, especially if the offender is proven innocent in that case. It certainly hurts the victim, it can lead to victim shaming, victim blaming, harassment, intimidation,” she said.
They want Zoom conference calls only.
A spokesman for the Defender Association of Philadelphia said while they support public access and transparency, they have concerns about hearings and trials streamed online.
The district attorney declined to comment.
Judges may ban the court proceeding from going on YouTube, may limit it to just audio, or can close court access all together.