Why you won't see much live coverage of first trial in John Hernandez's death

Terry Thompson appears in a courtroom in Houston on June 12, 2018.
Terry Thompson appears in a courtroom in Houston on June 12, 2018. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – The first trial connected to the death of John Hernandez began in Houston this week, and many people have been asking why they can’t watch live coverage of the proceedings.

The short answer: There's an order by the presiding judge preventing it.

Here’s the longer explanation.

Judge Keli Johnson, who hears cases in the 178th Criminal Court in Harris County, prohibited any livestreaming of video or audio from inside the courtroom during most of the trial. The only exceptions are during opening statements, closing arguments and the verdict.

Terry Thompson and his wife, Chauna Thompson, a former Harris County deputy, have been charged with murder in connection with Hernandez’s death after a confrontation outside a Denny’s restaurant in Crosby in May 2017.

Before Terry Thompson’s trial began Wednesday, Johnson reminded everyone of her order that not only restricts video and audio from inside the courtroom, but also photography.

“If your cellphone is found, it will be seized,” Johnson said to the gallery. “Also, if you violate any of the court’s order that could subject you to contempt of court. That’s six months in jail, day-for-day, and up to a $500 fine … and, absolutely, if you are caught livestreaming, I will hold you in contempt.”

The only video that viewers will see on KPRC2 during the course of testimony is what is shot through a window into the courtroom. Audio is not allowed to be recorded by the media.

A KPRC2 reporter is allowed inside the courtroom to hear the proceedings, which is where the information in the reports originates.

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