Wyoming court bans electronic recording devices
WYOMING–A trial judge in Laramie presiding over the trial of two women charged as accessories in the beating death of a gay man restricted the number of courtroom seats for the media and banned electronic recording devices in early November.
In response to an early November petition filed by the Wyoming Press Association, the court ruled that 24 seats would be set aside for members of the media who had applied and were granted credentials to cover the trial involving the death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, according to the Associated Press. However, if the courtroom is largely filled by trial participants, access may be limited to three media participants who would provide pool coverage to other media outlets.
The court also denied a request that video and still cameras be permitted in the proceedings, and prohibited audio recorders, cellular phones, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment.
Wyoming state law requires that all media parties wishing to photograph or electronically record any portion of the trial apply for approval of such coverage prior to the proceeding. The presiding judge has discretion to decide whether to allow recording devices into the courtroom.
Shepard died in early October, five days after his skull was fractured and he was left tied to a split-rail fence. Authorities say he was attacked in part because he was gay, according to AP reports.
The two women, Kristen LeAnn Price, 18, and Chasity Vera Pasley, 20, were charged as accessories after the fact. The boyfriends of the two, Aaron James McKinney, 21, and Russell Arthur Henderson, 21, are both charged with first-degree murder. (Wyoming v. Price; Wyoming v. Pasley)