“I didn’t fully appreciate while I was sitting in court waiting for Vernon Hershberger’s hearing to begin Friday afternoon in Baraboo, WI, that the delay was due to some important negotiations taking place outside the courtroom.
It was over whether Hershberger’s son, Andrew, could videotape the proceedings. I was aware there was a problem when I went out briefly into the hallway, and Andrew asked me whether I might be able to video the proceedings, since I was a media representative, and was sitting in a special media section up front. I agreed, though suggested it would be preferable if he came in and actually did it, since he knew much better how to use the camera. He said he had been told he couldn’t go in. The court officers present indicated when I was there that they had to inquire with higher ups as to whether he could come in and videotape. Andrew told me he would stick his head in and let me know when a decision came back.
I’ll let Hershberger pick up the story from there, from an account he wrote for his club members:
“I asked (court officials) about our video camera that Andrew was going to use to record the whole proceeding. They told me there is no way that we are allowed to take that camera inside the courtroom due to Judge’s orders. I told them that it is my constitutional right to have everything properly recorded when I am talking with government officials. I let them know that I will not go anywhere without that camera!
“I just stepped aside and sat down in a chair while they continued to scan the other people and to fill the courtroom. They continued to (try to) persuade me to go inside and sit down with family, then I could ask the Judge when the hearing starts. I firmly told them no.
“Finally it was 1:00 and they were getting nervous. I did not expect anything else besides going to jail if I don’t comply. But, I thought, I will rather go to jail than to go into the courtroom without the camera….”