Council imposes guidelines for camera coverage of courts
CALIFORNIA–The state Judicial Council in mid-May approved changes to the rule governing camera coverage in state courts.
The presiding judge maintains the discretion to permit, refuse or limit coverage. The new rule requires that the judge consider a long list of factors in deciding whether to allow coverage, including: the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence in the judicial system, the importance of promoting public access to the judicial system, the consent of the parties, the nature of the case, privacy rights of all trial participants, the effect on any minor who is a participant in the trial, the effect on witnesses, the impact on the security and dignity of the court, and any other factor the judge deems relevant.
The judge may condition the order permitting media coverage on the media’s agreement to pay any increased court-incurred costs resulting from coverage, such as additional court security or utility service. The new rule does not allow coverage of proceedings held in chambers, proceedings closed to the public, jury selection, or coverage of jurors or spectators.
The council rejected a proposal which would have prohibited coverage of pretrial proceedings, including arraignments, bail hearings, and motions to suppress or exclude evidence, and which would have prohibited coverage of minors who are parties or witnesses. (Amended Rule 980, Calif. Rules of Court)