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Debate Before State High Court to Be Televised

From a Times Staff Writer

For the first time, an oral argument in a case before the state Supreme Court will be televised live and in its entirety, the nonprofit statewide cable television network CAL-SPAN announced Thursday.

Network spokesman Paul Koplin said the 90-minute legal debate next Thursday involves Proposition 140, the legislative term-limitation measure. More than 2 million California households carrying cable will be able to watch the argument, which is set to start at 9 a.m.

The network provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of the state Assembly. Next year, it is scheduled to expand its coverage to include state Senate proceedings, state regulatory agency meetings and public affairs round-table discussions, Koplin said.

The high court first permitted television and still cameras into its courtroom in 1981. San Francisco public television station KQED recorded arguments in a case involving the validity of hypnosis-induced testimony, and later broadcast a one-hour program on the subject.

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Since then, cameras have been permitted in about a dozen cases, according to a court spokeswoman, Lynn Holton. Two years ago, when the justices heard arguments on Proposition 103, the insurance reform initiative, proceedings were shown on television monitors outside the justices’ Sacramento courtroom.


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