YouTube Helping People Plead Their Case In The Court Of Public Opinion

from the your-honor,-please-embed-this dept

There are plenty of examples of YouTube aiding law enforcement in catching criminals, but the site has benefit for folks on either side of the law. Human rights lawyer Andrew K. Woods has an interesting article at Slate on what he calls the "YouTube Defense". Basically, lawyers understand that judges are inevitably swayed by public opinion when making rulings, even if theoretically they're supposed to be impervious to political pressure. For lawyers representing unpopular defendants, such as many of the individuals currently held at Guantanamo, the challenge is in raising public awareness about people that may be wrongly held. For this purpose, YouTube has become a useful tool. In the case of one incarcerated individual, a Sudanese elementary school teacher, a five-minute online video made by his supporters helped raise his profile and get him on a list of people slated to be released. In a way, though, what's interesting about this case is its banality. There's are very few uses of YouTube that would elicit much surprise anymore. Compare this to the attitude towards online video in 1999, when controversial weight-loss drug maker Metabolife took the then-unprecedented step of posting a full video online of an interview that its CEO had done with Dateline. The company's thinking was that it didn't want Dateline to manipulate the CEO's words, and it wanted to get its message heard in the court of public opinion, without editing. Then, there was a lot of controversy about this move, and some speculated that small companies that couldn't afford to post video online would be hurt if this became a common thing. Now, of course, with YouTube, anyone can post videos online, and the act of doing so is fairly uncontroversial, even if it's to support a Guantanamo detainee.


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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2007 @ 2:34pm

    Hmm... theres thousands of reason to post videos on youtube... i hardly think this one of them.

    Who wants to see some random video about some guy stuck in a little cage!! (well maybe a lot of people would wanna see that)

    but certainly no one wants to watch these videos say over... chad vader... or even better the numa numa singers... theres also lots of other more entertaing stuff like: full length movies, music videos, and just some random stuff....

    point is youtube could be used for the defense of a person but i dont think it would help much...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2007 @ 2:35pm

    The role of judges.

    Basically, lawyers understand that judges are inevitably swayed by public opinion when making rulings, even if theoretically they're supposed to be impervious to political pressure.
    The main role of judges is to ensure political correctness. Any judges that deviate from that role will find themselves out of office or without cases to try. That's why the well-connected can get away with murder while others get severe sentences on trumped up charges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Shohat, Mar 30th, 2007 @ 3:06pm

    Re: The role of judges.

    What you said is completely untrue in Israel. Courts here tend to be much more leftish-liberal and ensure neutrality in many issues, and hit the parliament hard and often for passing stupid laws . The judges are often much smarter than the lawmakers and their clerks, it gets really cute when they slap them down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2007 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: The role of judges.

    "it gets really cute when they slap them down."

    You homo

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Faceless Minion, Apr 1st, 2007 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: The role of judges.

    One only wishes that were how it worked in the US.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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