Tenth Circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd will issue a decision by November on whether to allow cameras in the courtroom during the jury trial for Timothy M. Brokes Jr.
Tenth Circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd will issue a decision by Nov. 9 on whether she will allow cameras in the courtroom during the jury trial for Timothy M. Brokes Jr.
Judge Shepherd said she received requests for video cameras during the trial from local television news stations KHQA and WGEM, along with requests to provide updates through social media and to live Tweet the proceedings before and during the trial. Charles Hoskins, representing the defense, objected to the cameras and live Tweeting, citing potential distractions from the presence of a camera or inadvertently recording a confidential conversation between a client and attorney during a live Tweet. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton and Monroe County Prosecutor Talley Kendrick — both representing the state — deferred to the court’s decision regarding the matter.
Hoskins expressed concern that jurors or witnesses might be “self-conscious” about cameras and recording, which he said could affect their ability to pay close attention to each piece of evidence. He also said live streaming could publicize evidence that would end up not being admitted in the case. Shepherd noted that the jury would be sequestered from media reports and other sources of information that could affect their ability to render a verdict.
KHQA News Director Kristen Hamilton cited the recent Curtis Lovelace murder case in Quincy, Ill., as an example of cooperation among the defense, prosecution and bench officials and media representatives to minimize distractions with cameras in the courtroom. She said media personnel shared a single video and still camera, and they set up a divider so the camera could not capture images of jurors, and jurors couldn’t see the camera. Travis Sloan said that without video, it’s not possible to show a facial expression or portray someone’s tone of voice during the proceedings.
“It provides a true representation of what happens,” he said.
Shepherd said she would review the requests and render a decision by Thursday, Nov. 9, sending copies to Hamilton and WGEM Executive Content Producer Gary Davis.
Brokes’ trial stems from a January 2016 crime spree. Brittany Gauch died of gunshot wounds, and her husband, Aaron Gauch was injured in separate incidents on Jan. 12. Brokes faces felony charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and assault.
The defendant also faces felony counts in Monroe County for assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and hindering prosecution. Those charges stem from a shootout that left Monroe City police officer Travis Pugh injured and ended with Brokes and his passenger, June Smith, placed under arrest.
Smith pleaded guilty to a felony charge of hindering prosecution related to the Monroe City incident. Smith was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Brokes remains incarcerated in the Department of Corrections with a $1 million cash-only bond, two $500,000 cash-only bonds and a $100,000 cash-only bond.
Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org