A courtroom is an important entity of the trial process where the parties voice their arguments, and the judges make decisions regarding the case. The energy that the listeners feel during the speeches of the representatives can affect the decision-making process. This factor explains why it is important to pay attention to real-life court cases and make notes of how the defendants and plaintiffs structure and voice their speeches and how these affect the trial. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the visitation of live court hearings is mostly prohibited, which is why one can learn from videotapes of court trials. The case of White vs. Cuomo is a trial based on The Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law. This paper will describe the experience of watching a recording of case No. 59, White vs. Cuomo.
A courtroom is a location where the judges hear the cases and the plaintiffs and defendants present their arguments, making it an essential element of the juridical process. The courtroom is the hub of courthouse activity and provides an unbiased location for most judicial processes. Each courtroom’s size and interior arrangement may be determined by the unique requirements of the sorts of hearings and trials to be handled in that courtroom. Smaller rooms for hearings have some benefits as they create a better atmosphere and allow for easier communication and observation. Nevertheless, they cannot always adapt to the potential changes in the caseload, while larger jury courtrooms have more flexibility.
In the video recording of the chosen case, the viewer can clearly see one side of the courtroom. It is a large jury courtroom with several tables and a TV screen (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). In this case, the courtroom was a large room decorated with dark wood. At one end, there was a long table with seven chairs, which were occupied by the judges. At the top of the walls, there were portraits; presumably, these are renowned figures in the field of law and legislation. Moreover, there were two flags on each side of the judge’s table, and one was the American Flag. The people who present their arguments are wearing facemasks due to the COVID-19 restrictions, which makes it difficult to fully assess their presentation skills. However, their voices are heard clearly through the speakers as they present their cases to the microphone.
Apart from the people involved directly in the hearing, there are no other individuals on this trial. However, the courtroom has chairs for visitors, which would normally be occupied by people who are interested in learning about a particular court case or what to be present at a hearing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most courthouses have restricted access to their facility. Having free access would endanger the jury and the people who are legally obliged to be present at the hearing.
Statements and Facts
This case requires the court to decide if the activities under question can be considered gambling and, therefore, if they should be managed using the policies applied to gambling in New York. The Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Laws were changed in August 2016 by introducing an article pertaining to the registration and regulation of interactive fantasy sports (IFS) contests. Some examples of these activities are racing, pari-mutuel wagering, and breeding. Moreover, article 14 of the law that lists these activities specifies that IFS contests do not constitute gambling (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). IFS providers are taxed, registered, and regulated, and the law gives information about some consumer safeguards and minimum requirements to each event.
In this court case, plaintiffs are represented by several tax payers who were impacted by the harmful effects of gambling — filed this case seeking a declaration judgment that article 14 violates the New York Constitution, Article I, 9, and an injunction to prevent defendants from enforcing the legislation (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). Plaintiffs moved after the matter was joined, and the case was cumulatively reviewed to determine the harm caused by activities and whether these activities can be considered gambling.
Plaintiffs requested summary judgment on their case after issuing a joinder. Defendants filed a cross-motion for summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit and a statement that article 14 does not violate the New York Constitution. The Supreme Court granted the plaintiff’s request for summary judgment in part, stating that article 14, to the extent that it allows and governs IFS, was void as a breach of the New York Constitution, Article I, 9 (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). Furthermore, the court held that article 14 did not violate the New York Constitution, Article I, 9, as it did not include IFS in its definition of “gambling” activities in Penal Law article 225 (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). Based on this conclusion, the complaint made by the defendants was dismissed. Defendants filed an appeal, while plaintiffs filed a cross-appeal. Hence, the goal of this trial was to determine whether the activities under question could be considered gambling.
Any court proceeding follows a specific set of steps required to ensure that both sides of the case have a chance to voice their opinions and be heard by the judges. The trial court forwards the official case records to the Court of Appeals when an appeal is filed. When the court receives the records and the attorneys’ written arguments, the matter is considered to be an issue and is assigned to a three-judge panel for deliberation. All matters filed in the Court of Appeals must be reviewed and determined by the court.
The brief filed by the individual filing the appeal comprises legal and factual reasons as to why the trial court’s ruling should be reversed. The individual who is the subject of the appeal has the right to react to these arguments. Trials are not held by an appellate court, which it examines trial court records, evidence, and transcripts. The comprised materials are used by the court to investigate the previous trials and the application of laws to reach the conclusion. The Court of Appeals also can listen to the oral arguments made by attorneys to come to a decision; the matter is decided by a majority vote.
One party, in this case, is the Jennifer White et al., who are Respondents-Appellants, while the other is Andrew Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, et al., as Appellants-Respondents. The judges involved in this case are the following: Garry, P.J., Clark, Mulvey, Pritzker, and Reynolds Fitzgerald, JJ (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). Since several claims of the plaintiffs were joined in this case, White is only one of several individuals involved in this court case. The attorney for the appellants was Letitia James, who was Attorney General, and the attorney for the responders was O’Connell and Aronowitz.
This court case was aimed at resolving the issue of gambling activities that were harmful to the individuals filing the court case. Article 14 of the Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law specifies that IFS contests are not gambling and offers consumer safeguards, minimum requirements, and the registration, regulation, and taxation of IFS providers (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). In this case, the court granted a summary judgment. A summary judgment, also known as a judgment as a matter of law or summary disposition, is a decision issued by a court hastily for one party and against another, for example, without a complete trial. Summary judgments might be delivered on the merits of an entire case or on certain issues within that case.
This particular video does not provide the court’s decision, as it ends with an argument between the judge and the plaintiff’s lawyer. The layer aims to explain that fantasy sports are skilled-based, while the judge argues that there is an element of randomness in this sport, similar to poker. Hence, despite the need for a skill, the decision on who wins and who losses is based on factors outside of the payer’s control, which is an essential factor for gambling. Gambling is irrational unless the game’s outcome is based on the skill of the player and their ability to succeed.
The reasons for the court’s decision were outlined in their summary of the case. Mainly, the New York Court of Appeals has ruled that fantasy sports are primarily a game of skill and so do not fall within the constitutional definition of gambling. As a result, the Legislature acted fully within its authority in authorizing fantasy sports without a constitutional change, and the games may continue to be held. Thus, this case was an important one for the understanding of the Constitutional basis for some types of sports.
I agree with the court’s decision since it appears that fantasy sports are indeed based on skill and the ability of the players to manipulate the game. Moreover, the arguments presented by the defendant were rational and appealed to the differences in the games that rely on the randomness element and fantasy sports. I believe the Legislature behaved rationally based on the information presented. Overall, I think that “Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law article 14” used in the trial is constitutional, and the first decision to partly grant the plaintiffs’ petition was a mistake (“No. 59 White v Cuomo”). In my opinion, the Supreme Court should have ended this trial by granting the defendants’ cross-motion and dismissing the lawsuit.
As the goal of this paper was to describe the energy and the process of a court trial to help better understand how the arguments voiced by the people in court affect the decision-making, the observational experience is essential. For me, it was difficult to adapt to watching this court case because I have witnessed several trials in real life and the difference in the way information is perceived in real life and on video is staggering. Moreover, one of the lawyers was not present in court, and her statement was broadcasted over the TV screen. Hence, I would argue that the arguments of both sides were less appealing since I watched the trial on tape. Moreover, the dynamic of the conversation between the judge and the lawyer at the end of the trial proves that the exchange of information in a court trial is based on more than the party’s arguments but also on the energy they present and their charisma.
Still, the arguments that the layers present are the focal points of the trial that the court must review, which is why listening to these on tape was easier. This is because, in this way, I was able to rewind the video and listen to the ideas the layers present. Moreover, when I heard statistical information or references to laws or ideas I was not aware of, I could stop the video and research this information. Therefore, although the experience of watching this court trial on tape was less engaging when compared to witnessing a live trial, I benefited from this experience since I was able to research ideas in which I had no background knowledge.
In summary, the trial of White vs. Cuomo is based on The Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law. A courtroom is an important aspect of the trial process since it is where the parties present their arguments and the judges make decisions on the case. The excitement that listeners sense during the speakers’ statements might influence the decision-making process. This element explains why it is critical to pay attention to real-life court cases and take notes on how the defendants and plaintiffs arrange and deliver their arguments, as well as how they affect the trial. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread, attendance at live court hearings is usually forbidden, which is why videotapes of court cases are available.
“No. 59 White v Cuomo.” Court of Appeals. Web.