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New Niche: Tell-Alls by Courtroom Sketch Artists

If you watched the NewsHour on PBS last week, you might have caught Jim Lehrer's interview with courtroom sketch artist William J. Hennessy Jr. If you missed it, no problem, because the transcript is now posted at the Online NewsHour. Hennessy was also recently featured in a post at The Blog of Legal Times.

The occasion for all this attention to a man whose occupation is rarely in the limelight -- even if his work regularly is -- is the publication of his book, "All Rise: Courts, Crime, and Courtroom Art." The book features hundreds of illustrations from trials he has covered in a career that spans more than a quarter century and in which he has sketched some of the period's most historic cases.

But for as long as he has been doing this, Hennessy told Lehrer, he never got over the awe he feels at the Supreme Court. "Drawing in the Supreme Court is very different from a regular courtroom," he said. "They're a panel of nine justices. It's a very awe-inspiring event, even after 27 years of doing it. To some degree, it's predictable, but you're always prepared, as usual, with -- prepared for what's unexpected."

While Hennessy's is the latest book to be published by a courtroom sketch artist, it is not the first. Others I know of or have been able to find:

Ease of these books combines the artist's illustrations with the artist's observations of the trials and the participants. Even as these artists were busily sketching, it seems, they were also keeping notes.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 20, 2009 at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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