You may know that we at the Ohio Supreme Court have streamed, recorded and archived our oral arguments since March 2004. Our website provides the links to updated materials.
Now the Ninth District Court of Appeals, based in Akron, has decided to begin posting its own oral arguments on YouTube. The Ninth District becomes the first of the 12 appellate courts in Ohio to use this platform for reaching the public.
Many people do not understand the appellate process. TV does not offer shows about courts of appeals, maybe because the work doesn’t seem dramatic. There are no witnesses, no evidence – just arguments presented to a panel of three judges about why a trial decision should be reversed or upheld.
The decisions by our appellate courts announce the law that must be followed in other cases within the district. Sometimes, if the district court decisions conflict, a case may need to be settled by our court. All the more reason that the courtroom door be open for public understanding of this important part of the legal process.
The U.S. Supreme Court so far has refused to allow cameras in the courtroom. As more state courts allow the public to see judges in action, perhaps the highest court in the nation will change its position and do the same.