Media Denied Hearing in Prince Case


The judge overseeing the probate case concerning Prince's estate has denied a request from several media companies to be heard in the case. However, questions about media access to the case have not been definitively answered.

The issue of having cameras in the courtroom has always been a controversial matter. In determining whether to allow them, the judges have to balance the public's right to know, the media's First Amendment rights and the parties' rights to privacy. The public has grown used to television cameras in many high profile criminal cases.

However, television cameras in a high profile estate case are an entirely different matter. This balancing act has been thrust into the limelight by the death of Prince.

Previously, in the probate case involving his estate, the judge barred cameras, audio recordings and sketch artists. News organizations have sought to intervene in the matter to gain access, but the judge recently declined their request to be heard for the time being and allowed that he might schedule a hearing on it later.

The USA Today reported on this development in "Prince estate judge: No cameras at Monday hearing."

Prince was notorious for being extremely private about his personal life so it can be surmised that he would not want the media and television cameras near legal proceedings concerning his estate. Nevertheless, given the fact Prince did not have an estate plan his estate must go through the probate process, which is open to the public by default.

If the musician had taken the time to prepare an estate plan that avoided probate, then he could have distributed his estimated $300 million fortune in a way that preserved his privacy.

Reference: USA Today (June 25, 2016) "Prince estate judge: No cameras at Monday hearing."

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