General Question

ftp901's avatar

Why courtroom artists, not courtroom photographers?

Asked by ftp901 (1276 points ) August 19th, 2010

I don’t understand why people sit in courtrooms and draw pictures. It seems like such an archaic and bizarre practice.

I can understand why they don’t allow video in the room (because it captures the sound and actions of the participants and could also be turned into a spectacle by reality television) but why would they not allow photography? It doesn’t capture sound and would give an accurate picture of the people in the room. It also means that someone wouldn’t have to sit there sketching like a mad person to capture it all.

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5 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

flash bulbs would be too distracting?

rebbel's avatar

As far as i know, it is not allowed (i am talking about the Netherlands here) to make photos of a suspect in a courtroom, this to protect the suspect’s privacy and identity.
Drawing is allowed, probably because the results of the artist’s work isn’t the real picture?
Here on this page you can find some drawings made by different artists, who depicted a woman, Lucia de B(erk), who was a suspect in a mass murder case.
She was found not guilty in the end, last year, and was freed, after she was convicted twice for it and received long year imprisonment sentence.
On this photo you can see what she really looks like.
All these years the artists, since they believed she was guilty of killing multiple children, depicted her as a kind of witch (or at least that was what a lot of people and media thought).

marinelife's avatar

It is believed that photographs showing the suspect would prejudice his right to a fair trial.

jaytkay's avatar

A trial is about events which occurred outside the courtroom. Ideally, the evidence and testimony are important, not the courtroom action.

SundayKittens's avatar

Good question. Other than the photograph stealing their soul, all I can think of is that:
– the courtroom artist is a tradition
– the drawing gives an idea of what’s happening in the trial without being too…real. Or too invasive. Kinda like what’s already been said ^

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