First requirement to be a courtroom draftsman: You can draw. Second condition: they can endure true stories of (possibly) serious crimes. With binoculars in front of her eyes, Christine Cornell jumped forward to look past the court commissioners standing in front of her to catch a glimpse of one of America`s most hated men. After this experience, the judges were clearly tired of an O.J. redux. While federal court cameras are still banned, at that time they were allowed in courtrooms in 47 states at the judge`s discretion — and the judges didn`t. In June of this year, when the White House began blocking camera access to press briefings (as has been common practice for 25 years), the work of courtroom artists took on a new urgency. CNN asked Washington-based cartoonist Bill Hennessy to give a briefing to then-press secretary Sean Spicer. With no camera, video or live audio in the room, he offered a critical perspective behind closed doors. Draw court cases when photos are not allowed. „I`m really just here to be a good antenna.
I don`t turn on it. I`m just trying to make the drawing look like that, what we see and what we see,“ Cornell said. „That`s why we`re here. Tell the story – and tell it all. Court sketches in the United States date back to the 19th century. Cartoonists in the courtroom were present at the trial of abolitionist John Brown and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.   In the mid-19th century there were well-known court artists and graphic designers such as George Caleb Bingham and David G. Blyth. Sketches from this period were reproduced as prints in printed publications, as photography was not a practical option for reporting in the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, Rosenberg`s art focused on happier and more idyllic scenes. Their pieces capture the snow around the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, blooming flowers, bright bakeries, and colorful sunsets. „Life in the courtroom is sad,“ she said.
„These are just terrible things. No one is happy in a courtroom. Court artists can quickly capture a moment on paper and then sell their work to media outlets that would otherwise be denied a visual recording of the trial. They can be paid per sketch or per day. Sketches are often sold to TV stations, news agencies, newspapers or the subjects of a sketch.  Courtroom sketches can also be purchased from institutional archives. Mitchell and Maurice Stans.  His work is included in the reports of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Kenny`s sketches from the Gainesville Eight trial led to United States v.
Columbia Broadcasting System (1974), which established the right of courtroom performers to make sketches and broadcast those sketches on television.  Cornell has been covering trials for over 40 years and has attracted everyone from Donald Trump to P Diddy. She says court artist is a demanding job that requires the ability to capture the moment in a short period of time. While a camera could easily do the same, she believes an artist adds a human touch to a process that can often be difficult. And the internet continues to rejoice (and discuss) in the art of high-level courtrooming. In 2015, people went crazy about a supposedly unflattering resemblance of New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady to artist Jane Rosenberg`s pencil drawings of the federal lawsuit against the NFL inciting memes and parodies on social media. „In the worst of circumstances, you couldn`t draw; That`s the truth,“ Cornell said. „The deadlines are just crazy now,“ said Arthur Lien, a Washington-based forensic cartoonist with decades of experience who primarily covers the Supreme Court. „It`s instantaneous.“ A forensic artist must work quickly, especially during hearings where a witness can only appear in court for a few minutes.
An illustration adapted for television may be produced during this period and viewed on television after the conclusion of a court case.  Court artists may be prohibited from drawing alleged victims of sexual abuse, minors and jurors, or certain witnesses in high-profile trials.  If these artists represent famous personalities, their sketches can also be accompanied by a series of tests. Rosenberg experienced this when she drew New England Patriots star Tom Brady when he appeared in court in 2015 amid the Deflategate scandal. Her sketch went viral online, and she later drew another portrait of him using the same materials, depicting him with softer facial features than his original drawing. In 1973, court artist Aggie Whelan (Kenny) was hired by CBS to illustrate the Gainesville Eight trial.  The judge who presided over the trial, Winston Arnow, ordered that no sketches be made in the courtroom and that no sketches of the trial be published, even though these sketches were made from memory outside the court.  In United States v. Columbia Broadcasting System (1974), the Fifth Circuit of Appeals overturned the court judge`s order and protected Aggie Whelan`s right to perform sketches and CBS`s right to broadcast court plans.  The restrictions were too broad and violated both CBS`s and Whelan`s First Amendment rights.  But Ito`s decision backfired. As Edwards recalls, witnesses were completely reshuffled between pre-trial hearings and the actual trial, with housekeepers entering the courts „completely finished“; Lawyers began positioning their desks for optimal camera angles.
„It was a circus. As of 2017, forensic sketches still trump photographic documentation (which is allowed to varying degrees in all 50 states). Last year, both Edwards and Robles were recruited to illustrate Led Zeppelin when the band challenged (and won) a copyright infringement charge. The courtroom was so opposed to cameras that the judge initially confiscated all the pens – including those of the artists – for fear of tiny hidden cameras. (He eventually reversed that decision.) And this year, the two artists began documenting the preliminary trial for the high-profile murder trial of New York real estate heir Robert Durst. „It`s a state court where they allow cameras — but the judge said no,“ Robles says. Since the Salem witch trials in 1692, more than a century before the first photograph was taken, artists have been quick to perform sensitive and highly publicized proceedings in front of a highly anticipated audience.
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