Utah eases standards for camera access to courts

Feature | May 5, 1997

Utah eases standards for camera access to courts


UTAH--In early April, the Utah Supreme Court amended its policy restricting camera access to courts, allowing additional recording devices to be present during trials.

In the original standards, first enacted in January 1990, the court allowed only still photography, at the discretion of the presiding judge. The new rule allows for filming and audio and visual recording in cases before appellate courts and for ceremonial events and court-approved public information programs.

Still photography is now allowed in trial courts with the consent of the presiding judge. Media must provide 24-hour notice, but on "good cause" the judge can waive the time requirement. Under the old rule, the media had to obtain the written consent of all parties and witnesses 24 hours before the event to be photographed.

The new rule also eliminates a requirement that the media must demonstrate to the judge's satisfaction that their equipment meets strict "sound and light criteria of the court." (Utah Code of Judicial Administration, Rule 4-401)