Courtroom artists/Gerichtszeichner

Photographs aren’t permitted during trials, so courtroom artists traditionally make sketches in the UK, the USA and Germany. (Germany lets cameras in before the trial, but can’t force people not to cover their faces).

The big difference is that UK courtroom artists aren’t even allowed to draw in court – they have to do it all from memory afterwards!

I was reminded of this when reasing in the WSJ Law Blog about Guantanamo inmates’ reactions to drawings of themselves. Janet Hamlin was actually prepared to correct Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nose.

A military spokesman, apparently accustomed to criticism about the treatment of prisoners here, said the attention to Mohammed’s feelings demonstrated the humane nature of the Guantanamo detentions.

Well, it’s OK about the canvas boarding, but what about the waterboarding?

CBS News reports too:

Still, American courtroom artists may have it easy compared to their British counterparts: U.K. law prohibits drawing in the courtroom, so artists have to sketch from memory. British artist Elizabeth Cook has sketched courtroom figures as diverse as Elton John, General Pinochet and the Spice Girls. She says she studies a subject’s forehead length, distance between the nose and top lip and jaw width before she goes off to sketch.

In the CBS gallery of courtroom drawings, there is one by Elizabeth Cook of General Pinochet (here incorrectly referred to as Picochet).

Gerichtszeichner (Wikipedia)

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