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We're Working Hard to Make Live Audio in Circuit Courts Standard

Over the past few weeks, we have drafted several letters to U.S. courts of appeals to convince them to livestream oral argument audio for major cases.

These letters have been co-signed by FTC’s Gabe Roth and the heads of state press associations.

Today Roth and North Carolina Press Association Executive Director Phil Lucey asked the Fourth Circuit for live audio in 18- 0005, Barnes v. Thomas, to be argued the morning of May 8.

The case concerns death row inmate William Barnes, whose death sentence may be overturned since one of the jurors in his capital case discussed the moral implications of sentencing a man to death with her pastor and then told her fellow jurors about the conversation – and that “they wouldn’t go to hell” if a death sentence was returned.

Roth has previously asked for live audio in Fourth Circuit cases with mixed success. A livestream request for one of the travel ban cases, argued in Dec. 2017, was granted, while a similar request in a Mar. 2019 Trump emoluments case was denied.

Roth and Nebraska Press Association Executive Director asked the Eighth Circuit for live audio in 17- 2181, Kelsay v. Ernst, a significant qualified immunity case argued last month, but were denied due to the court “not hav[ing] the capability of providing a live stream,” according to the clerk.

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