By Shane O’Sullivan
As I noted at the end of yesterday’s piece, media interviews with inmates are banned in California, so the only time the public gets to see Sirhan Sirhan is in televised coverage of his parole hearings.
A few weeks ago, I was shocked to discover that, for the first time ever, no video or audio recording will be allowed at Sirhan’s parole hearing in San Diego. In 2011, I participated in CNN pool coverage of Sirhan’s previous hearing but according to CDCR spokesman Luis Patino, no recordings have been allowed for the last five years, by order of Jennifer Shaffer, the Executive Officer of the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH).
CCR Title 15 § 2032 (b) states the regulations:
Television and radio coverage of Board of Prison Terms’ parole hearings will be authorized, unless such coverage would create a risk to the security of an institution, obstruct the hearing process, pose a risk to the personal safety of any person, or have the potential for prejudicing judicial proceedings…
From 1982 to 2011, Sirhan’s parole hearings were televised without a problem, so I failed to see what credible justification there was revoking audiovisual access to the media and the wider public in a case of such historical importance.