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Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Assassination and Murder Trials

Broadcast executives began to think of television as more than an entertainment medium, even before President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Americans in unprecedented numbers watched the president's funeral and reportage of events in Dallas on live television, including the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and his murder by Jack Ruby. The ensuing trial became the first high profile murder trial covered by television news, with courtroom illustrations as a key component of each day's news segment. Television audiences have received a steady diet of sensational trials in the years since the Ruby trial and courtroom illustrators are still sent by television and print news media to cover trials that captivate the public. When cameras are absent from the courtroom, Americans depend on courtroom illustrators to give them a close-up view of the unfolding drama.