ANNAPOLIS - A proposal to let news cameras broadcast certain court proceedings was aired before a state legislative committee on Tuesday.
Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr., R-Caroline/Cecil/Kent/Queen Anne's, is sponsoring a bill to let criminal sentencing hearings be photographed and filmed.
The same bill failed in Smigiel's House Judiciary Committee 11-10 last year. Broader versions of the bill, allowing access to all criminal proceedings, were rejected in previous years.
Maryland currently allows cameras in courts for civil trials and appellate proceedings, but not criminal trials.
Pennsylvania generally prohibits photography and broadcasting for civil and criminal trials, but permits them for nonjury civil proceedings.
In West Virginia, circuit and magistrate judges may allow cameras.
Smigiel, a lawyer, argued Tuesday that greater access would give the public a bigger stake in the criminal justice system.
Opponents say cameras will disrupt the process, make victims hesitant to speak in court and encourage grandstanding.