Skip to content

D. Prohibitions on photographing or identifying juveniles


  • 10th Circuit

    Even where juvenile proceedings are closed, the Supreme Court has made clear that a court may not “punish the truthful publication of an alleged juvenile delinquent’s name lawfully obtained by a newspaper.” Smith v. Daily Mail Publ’g Co., 443 U.S. 97, 105–106 (1979). In Oklahoma Publishing Co. v. District Court, 430 U.S. 308, 308 (1977), the Supreme Court likewise reversed an order that “enjoined members of the news media from ‘publishing, broadcasting, or disseminating, in any manner, the name or picture of [a] minor child’ in connection with a juvenile proceedings involving that child then pending in that court.”

    view more
  • 2nd Circuit

    The Second Circuit has not issued a definitive ruling as to interviewing jurors.  This will vary by jurisdiction.

    view more
  • 4th Circuit

    Except as otherwise provided by statute or rule, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly prohibit “the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 53.  At least one district court in the Fourth Circuit has held that this restriction does not violate the public’s First Amendment right of access to judicial proceedings. See United States v. Moussaoui, 205 F.R.D. 183, 185 (E.D. Va. 2002).

    view more
  • 5th Circuit

    Nothing found specific to the Fifth Circuit.

    view more
  • 7th Circuit

    “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2 provides, in relevant part, that ‘in an electronic or paper filing with the court that contains . . . the name of an individual known to be a minor, . . . a party or nonparty making the filing may include only . . . the minor’s initials.’”  P.D. ex rel. C.D. v. Carroll Consolidated School Corp., 820 F.Supp.2d 907, 908 (N.D. Ind. 2011) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2(a)(3)).  “An important factor in favor of anonymity is whether the plaintiff is particularly vulnerable to the possible harms of disclosure, particularly in light of his age.” Id. at 909; see Doe v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wis., 112 F.3d 869, 872 (7th Cir.1997) (“fictitious names are allowed when necessary to protect the privacy of children, rape victims, and other particularly vulnerable parties or witnesses”).

    In a First Amendment challenge to public high school graduation ceremonies being held in a church, the Seventh Circuit held the parents of the minor plaintiffs could proceed anonymously. “Identifying these adult plaintiffs also would expose the identities of their children,” and “[b]ecause the subject matter of the suit frequently has a tendency to inflame unreasonably some individuals . . . a risk to children is particularly compelling.” Doe ex rel. Doe v. Elmbrook School Dist., 658 F.3d 710, 724 (7th Cir. 2011), vacated on other grounds on rehearing en banc, 687 F.3d 840 (7th Cir. 2012); accord A.B. ex rel. V.S. v. Meyer, 2015 WL 4545872 (N.D. Ind. July 28, 2015); compare P.D. ex rel. C.D. v. Carroll Consolidated School Corp., 820 F. Supp. 2d at 909-10 (rejecting argument that revealing minor plaintiff’s parents’ names “violates the intent of Rule 5.2” because it would allow the minor to be easily identified; plaintiff “has not provided enough information for the Court to conclude that there is good cause” to keep the names hidden under Seventh Circuit’s rigorous standard for anonymous litigation).

    Furthermore, in criminal cases, pseudonyms may be required pursuant to the Victims’ Protection and Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3509(d)(3)(A); see United States v. Troup, 2012 WL 3818242, at *3 (N.D. Ind. Aug. 31, 2012) (ordering use of pseudonyms for minor victim and witnesses in child pornography prosecution where “[i]t is easy to see how the disclosure of a child’s name as the victim of a sex offense can be ‘detrimental to the child,’ and the same goes for the two child witnesses who were not victims. The factual nature of this case makes it likely, even probable, that the children involved will be subject to harassment by their peers if their names are publicly associated with the case”).

    view more
  • 8th Circuit

    There appears to be no Eighth Circuit case law discussing prohibitions on photographing or identifying juveniles.

    view more
  • Arizona

    “Photographing, recording, or broadcasting of juvenile court proceedings is only as allowed as by Arizona law, or as provided by paragraph (i) [celebratory or ceremonial proceedings, or while court is not in session].” Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 122(k)(5).

    view more
  • Arkansas

    In Arkansas Democrat-Gazette v. Zimmerman, 341 Ark. 771, 20 S.W.3d 301 (2000), a trial judge’s gag order issued in juvenile criminal case was overbroad and violated the First Amendment because there was no overriding state interest to warrant a prohibition of photographs of the defendant and others entering and leaving the courthouse.

    In addition, Administrative Order No. 6 states that juvenile matters in circuit court shall not be subject to broadcasting, recording, or photographing. Ark. Sup. Ct. Admin. Order No. 6(c)(3).

    view more
  • California

    The press has a constitutional right to report lawfully obtained information, including the names and likenesses of juveniles obtained through court proceedings. See KGTV Channel 10 v. Superior Court, 26 Cal. App. 4th 1673, 1682, 32 Cal. Rptr. 2d 181 (1994). Juvenile courts can close proceedings entirely or limit how attorneys identify the parties in court, but they cannot preclude the press from reporting on information disclosed during an open proceeding, or restrict the media’s newsgathering and reporting outside of court. Id.; see also San Bernardino County Dep’t of Public Social Servs. v. Superior Court, 232 Cal. App. 3d 188, 206-207, 283 Cal. Rptr. 332 (1991) (juvenile court could not condition access on restrictions of the press’ right to publish lawfully obtained information and gather information outside of court).

    view more
  • Colorado

    The Colorado Judicial Department’s Public Access to Court Records policy (“Public Access Policy”) (pdf) excludes from public access certain classes of cases, absent a court order, including adoption, dependency and neglect, judicial bypass, juvenile delinquency, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings for a minor, paternity, and truancy.  (See Section 4.60(b).)  In addition, the Public Access Policy prohibits access to certain kinds of court records, absent a court order, including child abuse investigation reports that the court determines contains personal or confidential information; certain domestic relations documents, including parenting plans; evaluations and reports filed by a child and family investigator, a child’s legal representative, or relating to the allocation of parental responsibilities; and scholastic achievement data on individuals, among many other categories. (See Section 4.60(d).)

    Colorado court system created a policy regarding “expanded media coverage,” which means any photography (including video) or audio recordings of proceedings, which is set forth in Rule 3, Chapter 38 of the Colorado Supreme Court Rules (pdf).  The rule describes the procedural requirements for requesting expanded media coverage access, including a standard request form, sets forth standards for a judge to authorize expanded coverage, and also describes restrictions on expanded media coverage.  Although Rule 3 does contain some restrictions on the subject matter for photography, the Rule does not specifically prohibit photographs of juveniles.

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    According to the D.C. Superior Court Rules Governing Juvenile Proceedings, “[t]he taking of photographs, or radio or television broadcasting will not be permitted in any of the courtrooms of the Family Court during the progress of judicial proceedings, or in any of the anterooms adjacent thereto, in the detention rooms, in the lobby, or in the corridors of the court house occupied by the Family Court.”  Super. Ct. Juv. R. 53(b)(1).

    While the public is generally excluded from juvenile proceedings, persons with a “proper interest” in the case may be admitted upon approval of the presiding judge.  In the event a third party is admitted, he or she “will refrain from divulging information identifying the respondent or members of the respondent’s family or any other child involved in the proceedings.” Id. at 53(a)(1).

    Moreover, the D.C. Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure state that “the names of minor children are to be excluded from public filings” and that “[i]f a party intends to file any document in which a minor child will be identified, only the initials of that child should be used in any public filing.”  Super. Ct. R. Civ. P. 5(f)(1)(b).

    view more
  • Florida

    Section 119.071(2)(h)1., Florida Statutes, provides, in part, a comprehensive exemption from disclosure for information which would “reveal the identity of the victims” of child abuse, such as the photograph, name, address, or other fact or information. The exemption applies to “criminal intelligence information or criminal investigative information” or other criminal record, including those portions of court records and court proceedings, which may reveal the victim’s identity. Id. Section 119.071(2)(j)2, Florida Statutes, provides that identifying information in a videotaped statement of a minor who is alleged to be or who is a victim of a sexual offense prohibited in the cited laws which reveals the minor’s identity, including, but not limited to, the minor’s face; the minor’s home, school, church, or employment telephone number; the minor’s home, school, church, or employment address; the name of the minor’s school, church, or place of employment; or the personal assets of the minor; and which identifies the minor as a victim, held by a law enforcement agency, is confidential. Access shall be provided, however, to authorized governmental agencies when necessary for the agency’s duties. Id.

    Thus, information revealing the identity of victims of child abuse or sexual battery must be deleted from the copy of the report of domestic violence which is sent by a law enforcement agency to the nearest domestic violence center pursuant to Section 741.29(2), Florida Statutes. Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 92-14 (1992); see also Palm Beach Cnty. Police Benevolent Assoc. v. Neumann, 796 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (applying exemption to information identifying a child abuse victim which was contained in files prepared as part of an internal investigation conducted in accordance with Section112.533, Florida Statutes) However, the identity of a child abuse victim who died from suspected abuse is not confidential. Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 90-103 (1990).

    view more
  • Georgia

    As a matter of statute, Georgia courts may permit electronic recording, transmission, videotaping, motion picture and still photography of judicial proceedings involving minors. O.C.G.A. § 15-11-700(h). The Georgia juvenile code purports to authorize judges to “order the media not to release identifying information concerning any child or family members or foster parent or other caretaker of a child involved in hearings open to the public.” O.C.G.A. § 15-11-700(i).

    view more
  • Idaho

    Idaho courts, statutes, and rules do not address access to juveniles’ identifying information.  However, “the following juvenile courtroom proceedings and records shall be open to the public: all proceedings against a juvenile of the age of fourteen (14) years or older and who is petitioned or charged with an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult including the court docket, petitions, complaints, information, arraignments, trials, sentencings, probation violation hearings and dispositions, motions and other papers filed in any case in any district; transcripts of testimony taken by the court; and findings, verdicts, judgments, orders, decrees and other papers filed in proceedings before the court of any district.  Idaho Code § 20-525(1) (2010).  But “[j]uvenile courtroom proceedings and records shall remain confidential when the court and the prosecutor agree extraordinary circumstances exist that justify records of a juvenile of the age of fourteen (14) years or older and who is petitioned or charged with an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult should remain confidential because it is in the best interest of the juvenile.”  Idaho Code §20-525(2).

    view more
  • Illinois

    In cases of abuse in Illinois, the state has an interest in the nondisclosure of the abused minor’s identity. In re K.D., 279 Ill. App. 3d at 1023, 666 N.E.2d at 31, 216 Ill. Dec. at 863. Also, the abused minor victim has a compelling interest against invasions of his or her privacy. Id. The court may prohibit the press from identifying minors when the courtroom was the source for the identities, but it may not prohibit the press from publishing truthful information gathered through common reporting techniques. In re Minor, 205 Ill. App. 3d 480, 491-92, 563 N.E.2d 1069, 1077, 150 Ill. Dec. 942, 950 (Ill. App. Ct. 4th Dist. 1990).

    view more
  • Indiana

    Indiana Administrative Rule 9(G)(2)(g) mandates that information identifying witnesses or victims in juvenile proceedings shall be excluded from the public record. However, names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth are not excluded, except that juveniles who are the victims of sex crimes shall only be identified by initials.

    view more
  • Iowa

    Iowa does not explicitly restrict photographing or identifying juveniles. However, Iowa protects the privacy of child victims of sexual abuse, incest, or sexual exploitation by prohibiting the release of the identity of the child or any information reasonably likely to disclose the identity of the child to the public by any public employee. Iowa Code § 915.36 (2018). In addition, the name of the child and any identifying biographical information are not to appear on any public record. Id. Instead, a non-descriptive designation, such as the child’s initials will usually appear on all public records. See id. “A person who willfully violates [the child victim protection statute] or who willfully neglects or refuses to obey a court order made pursuant to [the child victim protection statute] commits contempt.” Id. The statute does not, however, explicitly address identification of child victims by the media. The expanded media coverage rules governing cameras and microphones in the courtroom restrict the showing of juvenile victims and witnesses.

    view more
  • Kansas

    Under Kansas Supreme Court Rule 1001(e)(7), a trial judge must prohibit photographing of a juvenile, as well as audio recording, unless the juvenile is being prosecuted as an adult in a criminal proceeding as authorized by K.S.A. 38-2347.  However, even though the rule permits photographing of a juvenile who is tried as an adult, it allows a judge to issue a “directive to the contrary.”  Kan. Sup. Ct. R. 1001, Media Coverage of Judicial Proceedings,

    In a 2005 murder case in Douglas County, Kansas, a judge objected to coverage by a sketch artist.  The judge ordered the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper not to publish the artist’s sketches of adult witnesses in a murder trial. The judge concluded that “courtroom rules limiting photography of certain witnesses also apply to drawings by sketch artists.”  Eric Weslander, Judge bars sketches from publication, Lawrence Journal-World (June 17, 2005).  The judge later reversed her order, allowing publication of the sketches of the adults, but she separately ordered the newspaper not to publish sketches of two young teenagers who testified in the case.

    After filing a motion for reconsideration, which the judge denied, the World Company, publisher of the Journal-World, petitioned for mandamus in the Kansas Supreme Court. The World Company argued that the judge’s order was erroneous because the rules regarding cameras in the courtroom are silent about sketch artists.  Memorandum in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandamus at 2, World Co. v. Martin, No. 05-94706-S (Kan. June 17, 2005).

    The World Company also asserted that the judge’s order was a prior restraint and was imposed without a hearing as constitutionally required.  The World Company further argued that there was no need for the order, because an artist’s sketch provides information to the public but yet is not sufficiently accurate to make witnesses identifiable and therefore does not jeopardize their privacy interests.  The World Company moved for an expedited hearing, but was unsuccessful.  The state supreme court denied the World Company’s petition about two months after the trial had ended.  Denial of Petition for Writ of Mandamus, World Co. v. Martin, No. 05-94706-S (Kan. Sept. 20, 2005); see also Lawrence Man Gets Life Term in Wife’s Murder, WIBW-TV (July 21, 2005).

    view more
  • Kentucky

    Kentucky law does not prohibit photographing or identifying juveniles generally.  However, most cases in juvenile court are presumptively closed to the public.  See KRS 610.070 & KRS 610.340.

    view more
  • Louisiana

    There are no Louisiana statutes or reported cases on this subject.

    view more
  • Maine

    There are no restrictions on photographing juveniles in civil proceedings generally (although restrictions apply in Family Division cases), but in criminal proceedings “[t]here shall be no coverage of any person who has not yet attained 18 years of age, except for a person bound over to the Superior Court for criminal proceedings as an adult.” Administrative Order JB-05-15, “Cameras and Audio Recording in the Courtroom,” § I(B)(g).  The process for submitting a notification of coverage is contained in the Administrative Order. Id.

    view more
  • Maryland

    In Baltimore Sun Co. v. State, 667 A.2d 166 (Md. 1995), the Court of Appeals recognized that “while a court can place reasonable restrictions on the media’s use of information obtained in a confidential juvenile proceeding, it cannot limit the media’s publication of information which it legitimately collected from other sources.” Id. at 169. In that case, a juvenile court proceeding involving the abuse of an infant, the Court found that the lower court could not restrict the publication of a photograph of the juvenile obtained from the local police department. Id. at 169–74.

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Massachusetts court rules prohibit photography of minors in the courtroom without the consent of the judge. S.J.C. Rule 1:19(2)(c).  However, any prior restraints prohibiting reporting on information lawfully obtained by the media are presumptively unconstitutional. George W. Prescott Pub. Co. v. Stoughton Div., 701 N.E.2d 307, 309 (Mass. 1998) (court order limiting press reporting on public proceedings involving juvenile witnesses was an unlawful prior restraint; there is an “especially high burden of justification” for limiting press reporting where proceedings and records are open to the public).

    view more
  • Minnesota

    According to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, any prior restraint on the freedom of the press must be “necessitated by a compelling state interest, and … narrowly tailored to serve that interest.” Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Schmidt, 360 N.W.2d 433, 435 (Minn. Ct. App. 1985) (citing Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596 (1982)); see also Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Lee, 353 N.W.2d 213, 215 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984). In Schmidt, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the possible traumatization of a child involved in juvenile court proceedings was not a “compelling state interest” sufficient to justify a gag order on the press. Schmidt, 360 N.W.2d at 435. As a result, the trial court’s order restraining the press from publishing any information relating to the particular proceedings in question was held to be unconstitutional. Id. at 436.

    However, in Austin Daily Herald v. Mork, 507 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993), the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to allow news reporters into the courtroom during the testimony of juveniles on the condition that the reporters not publish the juveniles’ names or divulge information pertaining to any confidential records revealed through their testimony. The court held that this was not a prior restraint.

    view more
  • Mississippi

    Even where juvenile proceedings are closed, the Supreme Court has made clear that a court may not “punish the truthful publication of an alleged juvenile delinquent’s name lawfully obtained by a newspaper.” Smith v. Daily Mail Publ’g Co., 443 U.S. 97, 105-06 (1979). In Oklahoma Publishing Co. v. District Court, 430 U.S. 308, 308 (1977), the Court likewise reversed an order that “enjoined members of the news media from ‘publishing, broadcasting, or disseminating, in any manner, the name or picture of [a] minor child’ in connection with a juvenile proceeding involving that child then pending in that court.”

    The Mississippi Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings (MREPC) do not categorically prohibit the media from photographing juveniles. However, Rule 3 does “expressly prohibit” electronic media coverage of the following matters, which may involve children in the courtroom: child custody; support; guardianship; commitment; adoption; delinquency and neglect of minors; determination of paternity; and termination of parental rights.

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    See the other sections of “Proceedings involving minors.”

    view more
  • New Mexico

    In New Mexico, accredited representatives of the news media may be present at closed hearings, conditioned on them refraining from divulging information that would identify any child involved in the proceedings or the parent, guardian or custodian of that child. NMSA 1978, § 32A-4-20. Media parties granted admission to a closed hearing who intentionally divulge information can be found guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Id.

    view more
  • North Carolina

    See N.C.G.S. 7B-2102(d) (fingerprints and photographs of juveniles taken pursuant to the Juvenile Code are not public records and "shall be withheld from public inspection or examination.").

    view more
  • North Dakota

    Juvenile proceedings are closed under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-51, including records identifying the juvenile.  However, general information not identifying any juvenile, witness, or victim can be requested and released under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-51(7).

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    Oklahoma Publishing Co. v. District Court of Oklahoma County, 1976 OK 145, 555 P.2d 1286, rev’d on other grounds, 430 U.S. 308 (1977), involved a trial court order that prohibited the media from publishing the name or photograph of an eleven–year–old child accused of second degree murder.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    The Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts; No. 477 Judicial Administration requires that certain information in judicial records concerning minors be kept confidential. Such information includes a minor’s name, date of birth, and educational records. See 204 Pa. Code § 213.81. However, the policy does not prohibit members of the press from identifying juveniles in their reporting. Indeed, such a restriction would violate the First Amendment. See, e.g., Oklahoma Publ’g Co. v. Dist. Court In & For Oklahoma Cty., 430 U.S. 308, 311 (1977) (striking down injunction prohibiting media from publishing name or photo of minor involved in juvenile proceeding); Bowley v. City of Uniontown Police Dept., 404 F.3d 783, 789 (3d Cir. 2005) (newspaper could not be held liable for publishing identity of minor where the information it published was truthful, lawfully obtained, and involved a matter of public concern).

    view more
  • South Dakota

    Police records of children are confidential. See S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-27. Generally, identification information regarding a child in the juvenile court system may not be released without a court order or prior to adjudication of delinquency. See S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-28.

    view more
  • Utah

    Utah’s rule governing electronic media coverage of court proceedings states, in relevant part, that “[n]otwithstanding an authorization to conduct electronic media coverage of a proceeding, and unless expressly authorized by the judge, there shall be no... electronic media coverage of the face of a person known to be a minor.”  Utah Code Jud. Admin. 4-401.01(6)(B).  Names and other identifying information of minors may also be redacted to protect the privacy interests of a minor.  See Fox Television Stations v. Clary, No. 940700284 (Utah 2d Dist. Dec. 5, 1995) (redaction of names and other identifying information adequately protected privacy interests).  In Fox Television, the court held that Sheriff Department reports containing information on sexual abuse of minor children were public records.  Id. Because the county had released another report that identified the victims and the person making the initial sexual abuse report, the court determined that the county was estopped from asserting confidential protection for the requested reports.  Id.

    view more
  • Vermont

    A Vermont statute provides that “[t]here shall be no publicity given by any person to any proceedings under the authority of the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters except with the consent of the child, the child’s guardian ad litem, and the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.”  33 V.S.A. § 5110(c).  A person who violates that provision may be subject to contempt proceedings.  Id. This includes a prohibition against publishing a minor’s name since “[p]ublication of the youth’s name could impair the rehabilitative goals of the juvenile justice system . . . . [and] may handicap his prospects for adjustment into society, for acceptance by the public, or it may cause him to lose employment opportunities.” In re J. S., 140 Vt. 458, 468, 438 A.2d 1125, 1129 (Vt. 1981) (holding that neither the Vermont nor the United States Constitution provides a right of public access which overrides the compelling interests served by Vermont’s juvenile confidentiality shield statutes).

    view more
  • Virginia

    The Virginia Code prohibits audio/video and still photography coverage of minors in the courtroom and of juvenile proceedings. See Va. Code § 19.2-266(3) and (4).

    An order prohibiting the media from publishing the name of a juvenile defendant whose identity was disclosed in open court constitutes an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech. See Oklahoma Pub. Co. v. Dist. Court In & For Oklahoma Cty., 430 U.S. 308 (1977).

    view more
  • Washington

    A Washington statute prohibiting the identification of child sexual assault victims was found to violate the state constitution’s guarantee of open courts.  Allied Daily Newspapers of Wash. v. Eikenberry, 121 Wn.2d 205, 212, 848 P.2d 1258 (1993).  Courtroom photography is governed by General Rule 16, which does not contain a per se prohibition on photographing juveniles but permits courts to impose limits on photography based on compelling, particularized circumstances.

    view more
  • West Virginia

    West Virginia Code §49-4-701(i),, and Rule 10 of the Rules of Juvenile Procedure,, provide that juvenile hearings are closed to the public.

    Rule 8 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court,, prohibit recording juvenile and family court proceedings and in areas adjacent to the courtroom without the court’s prior approval. The court may approve recordings of ceremonial proceedings.

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    See Wis. Stat. § 938.299(1)(a):

    Except as provided in par. (ar), the general public shall be excluded from hearings under this chapter unless a public fact-finding hearing is demanded by a juvenile through his or her counsel. … If a public hearing is not held, only the parties, their counsel, witnesses, a representative of the news media who wishes to attend the hearing for the purpose of reporting news without revealing the identity of the juvenile involved and other persons requested by a party and approved by the court may be present.

    view more
  • Wyoming

    Minor names, except those where the minor is a party, are to be redacted from court records. Wyoming Court Rules Governing Redactions from Court Records.

    view more