No TV Cameras in Scott Peterson Trial

updated 08/19/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/19/2003 01:00PM

A California judge has barred TV and still cameras from next month's preliminary hearing in the case against Scott Peterson, who is accused of murdering his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn son and dumping her into the San Francisco Bay last Christmas Eve.

"The application to permit cameras and recording devices during the preliminary hearing are denied," Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami wrote in a document dated Aug. 15 but made public on Monday, reports Reuters.

"While there is clearly a presumptive right of the public to attend the preliminary hearing in this matter, that right does not mandate the presence of cameras in the courtroom," Girolami continued. "Televising these passionate proceedings is not ... necessary to the process."

Court TV chairman Henry Schleiff said his network would not appeal the decision, but added, "According to our Constitution, trials are meant to be public, and we believe that all citizens -- not just the print press or those few who can fit into a courtroom -- should be able to watch their judicial system in action. However, while we are disappointed by Judge Girolami's ruling, our network's policy is not to appeal decisions regarding camera access by the presiding judge in any trial."

Peterson, 30, a fertilizer salesman, has pleaded not guilty, and is due before Judge Girolami for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 9.

Attorney Howard Weitzman (who initially represented O.J. Simpson in the ex-gridiron star's murder case), said Girolami reached a proper decision.

"Cameras in the courtroom are not necessary. I don't think it's an overwhelming need that the public has," said Weitzman.

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