Court Film

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Court Film

Jan 08, 2018

Student | Daniel Catton

The American court system could greatly benefit from various aspects of Film. First and foremost, the trial process needs stricter guidelines regarding time. The sixth amendment states, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial." In Film, there is an exact schedule that states what will be covered on which day. If this was practiced in the court of law, cases could be resolved in a much timelier fashion. Secondly, there is constant communication on a film set. The editing booth communicates with the director, who communicates with the cinematographer, who communicates with the casting director. The justice system would benefit from holistic communication. Allowing jurors to communicate via technology) iPad/laptop) with an additional judge, would promote a fair trial. Next, nearly every successful filmmaker has studied various elements of Film. I suggest that the jury selection process is radically changed to fit this model. Instead of picking random individuals, it is sensible to create a one to a two-year course on being a juror. This would create a new middle-income job and would reduce the required number of jurors per a case.

In Film, the casting director is the equivalent of a lawyer. A good casting director does everything in their power to make the actor feel comfortable and safe. Through doing this, an actor has the ability to give their best performance and bring out the truth of their character. As an actor, I truly feel bad for witnesses. From what I observed, lawyers can be manipulative in the way they question the witness. Instead of simply asking a set of questions, lawyers will try to wear down the witness in hopes of poking holes in the witness's statements. Judges should hold lawyers responsible for the way they treat witnesses.

A more direct and practical way that film could help the court of law is by modifying Crime Scene Investigation media. Over the past decade, forensic evidence has been romanticized as the only way to prove someone's guilt. This directly affects the trial process because defense lawyers can easily appeal to a jury if there is no forensics. Creating criminal television that employs logic and reason would change the public's perception of law, and most importantly promote true justice.

Daniel Catton, a student in Jon Pfeiffer's Fall 2017 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response being asked how his major, Media Production with an emphasis in Film, could improve the trial process.

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