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Televised trials skew perception of system

Article Originally Published on May 6, 2013 by Advocate Daily. 

When an audience watches televised trial coverage for entertainment, its view of the proceedings will likely be skewed, Toronto criminal lawyer Aaron Harnett says in the Toronto Star.

“They’re being asked to play at home without being given the proper rules,” Harnett says in the article. “That creates an enormous problem for not only the perception of the administration of justice, but also our expectations of a justice system.”

Harnett, who defended one of the women convicted of killing Toronto police officer William Hancox in 1998, worries with cameras in the courtroom, the justice system itself could become the victim, the Star reports.

Harnett weighed in on the issue in an article about Californian Jodi Arias, the latest real-life justice television star in the midst of a first-degree murder trial.

In June 2008, Arias’s ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander was found dead – stabbed 27 times and shot in the face, the article says. After first denying involvement, and then admitting she was there but blaming unknown intruders, Arias now admits she killed Alexander, but says it was self-defence, the Star reports.

The state is seeking the death penalty, the article says.

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