Can you keep your name out of the media if you appear in court?

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appear in court

The short answer is that unless you’re younger than 18 years old, there’s a good chance your name can (and will) end up in the media if you appear in court. This is especially true if you’re the plaintiff or defendant but applies to witnesses as well.

One of the reasons people are named is that by having public litigation, people are less likely to lie.

If you know your spouse, family, boss, or community will see that you’re part of a case, you want to save face and tell the truth as you understand it. If you lie and are caught, that’s more humiliating than getting called to the stand. While it doesn’t quite happen as dramatically as in the movies or television, attorneys catch witnesses in lies.

The use of video depositions also aids in getting to the truth or proving someone is lying.

While we can’t say why it happens, we know from experience that those who are video deposed are more likely, to tell the truth. Their attorneys are also more likely to behave; they don’t want their performance to be aired in open court just as much as you don’t want to be caught in a half-truth.

While your Jacksonville court reporter may be technically capable of using video equipment, we encourage you to hire a legal videographer. The reporter is going to be too busy with their main duties to make sure the microphone and camera are working properly, especially once the proceeding gets started.

It’s worth the investment to hire someone to exclusively cover the audio-visual portion of a deposition, especially if you suspect the witness isn’t telling the whole truth.

There are instances when names are withheld from the media or when proceedings take place privately. 

In cases involving children and sex crimes, witnesses may be allowed to testify in closed court to protect their safety. You can also ask media outlets to not publish your information but that can lead them to further investigate the case simply out of interest.

If you appear in court, there’s a high likelihood that your name will appear in the newspaper or online whether you like it or not. It’s part of how the system works. You really can’t keep your name out of the media; what you can do is tell the truth and the rest will take care of itself.