Philly DA asks Pa. Supreme Court to stop the streaming of criminal jury trials

UPDATED: Sept. 15, 7:54 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to prohibit jury trials from being streamed online, as outlined by city judges in a new policy brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. They argue it creates public safety issues.

Prosecutors filed what’s known as a King’s Bench petition, asking the high court to block the live court proceedings on YouTube because they say it can be recorded — which is against state law. They also say it can be used to intimidate witnesses and victims. 

“Livestreaming sensitive jury trials on YouTube could allow anonymous members of the public to record or capture images of victims, witnesses, and jurors — which is never permissible by the FJD in physical courtrooms,” read a release from the District Attorney’s Office.

City judges have said they developed the policy to satisfy public access.

One homicide trial has already been streamed — for the first time ever in state history — which ended in a not guilty verdict.

As of Sept. 22, the court has temporarily halted the streaming of Philadelphia court proceedings on YouTube.