Buster Busting down barriers to justice at Justice Center

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 00:42.

I can understand why Jeff put up the sunny, happy sunflower header, on such a glum day, as I'm sure we'd all love a lift... but the reason we are feeling glum is not the weather or lack of flowers but the injustices we see all around us. My replacement header is not intended to cheer people up but to cheer on injustice-buster Buster in his pursuit of liberty and freedom to take pictures in public places and justice for all.

Jeff and I spent the morning exploring justice at the Justice Center, as Jeff was scheduled for a trial about civil rights in Cleveland, to be continued (I'll let him fill folks in on the details as he chooses... anyone know a good civil rights attorney?), and we sat in on many other cases. It always astounds me to be in court and see how differently the lawyers and people with lawyers are treated - this is such a two class world... although Jeff's judge seems very cool and fair to all.

It also astounds me how much like People's Court or Judge Judy real court is. And it occurred to me, as Jeff and I sat in a courtroom for a trial about the right to photograph in a public place, in a case that may well be decided based on evidence collected from photo and video equipment, that the world is not at all using technology well, nor dealing with the realities of the digital world well.

The courtroom where Jeff and I sat should have been on video and available real-time to the public... real reality TV... so the world can observe all the proceedings - a type of amnesty international monitoring of all justice proceedings. And all public places should be covered with video surveillance, so no facts are lost.

When I suggest such things to some people, they react like this would be to give up rights. I see things very differently, as I know in most public places I am on video surveillance - probably from multiple points - but I do not have records of where I am filmed nor access to it, so I cannot use it if I need it... it is not used to protect the public. And, as it is in the hands of people who in many cases are not honest or competent, it can be used against me - or deleted by mistake or to protect the guilty. I would prefer, on the other hand, we as a society say there will be video 24x7 in Cleveland City Hall lobby and if I have trouble with a security issue there... or lose an umbrella... I know it will be digitally recorded, and I will have access to it - in fact, it should be available to the public real time and on archive without asking. Ponder that, and where you should not be allowed to photograph, and why.

 

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next opp?

So, when's the next time we all get to go down to do some court-watching on the photography issue?

 

From what I know of the situation, it seems to be a contrived case that needs a lot of scrutiny, something cobbled together by a law-enforcement lightweight who needs to retroactively justify some unreasonable behavior.

 

At the time it happened, I thought it was retaliation tied to the PutItOnTheBallot campaign, happening as it did right after the Battle of Little Can Top at Wendy Island, and I'm still not sure, not convinced, there isn't some linkage there.

great shot of Jeff

Jeff is collecting some great stories about the waste of tax dollars on misdemeanors that end up in court and take up resources that are needed elsewhere. It must be edifying to sit in Cleveland courtrooms time after time while waiting for the other side to be prepared to go to the mat on something as dangerous as taking pictures. How many Cleveland police who might be on the street protecting  and serving are sitting in court to attend this "grievous situation" of a shutter opening and closing?

There is a good video called the Power of Nightmares about the culture of fear being perpetrated in this country and abroad under the guise of "homeland security". It was produced for the BBC, but never aired publicly in the US. You can google it though and watch it online. John Ewing showed it at Cinematheque -- that bastion of free speech inside the Cleveland Institute of Art (our own version of the CIA).

Great shot of Jeff. Are these George Segal's creations sitting with him on the bench? Where is the cache of photos of Cleveland sculpture and public art anyway?