DCR 3.118 Media Coverage

1. Definitions.

(a) The term "media coverage" as used herein refers to the audio recording, still photographing, television photographing, or videotaping of judicial proceedings.

(b) The term "courtroom environs" shall include the entire third floor and fourth floor of the courthouse including any office or hallway and all exits from said floor; the north wing of the basement; and the hallway area adjacent to B-19 and B-22.

(c) The term "judicial proceeding" or "judicial proceedings" shall include all proceedings conducted pursuant to order of a court, however categorized.

2. Permissible Activities, Devices, Or Equipment Without Court Approval. Still or motion pictures, audio video tapes, or radio or television broadcasting of ceremonies for the administration of oaths to public officials and weddings may be permitted using portable hand held equipment in the courtroom or its environs except judge's chambers.

3. Prohibited Activity Unless Court Approved. Other than as allowed in paragraph 2, no judicial proceeding shall be photographed, videotaped, recorded or broadcast except as permitted by the court under the following procedure: 

(a) An online request using our secured portal must be submitted to the Court Administrator. The request must be made in advance of the hearing. Generally, a request must be made seven (7) days in advance of the hearing. However, exceptions may be made within the discretion of the court, depending on the nature of the hearing (for example, first appearances) or other circumstances that make impracticable the giving of seven (7) days notice.

(b) The Court Administrator will provide the assigned division a request form with case information.

(c) The judge assigned to the judicial proceeding shall notify all counsel in a case of any request for media coverage and provide each counsel a reasonable opportunity to advise the court of any objections or requests concerning media coverage before authorizing such coverage. Such notification and objections and/or requests may be communicated by telephone. Notification is not required for media coverage of first appearances.

(d) Once the judge has made a decision to approve/not approve, the request form is sent back to the court administrator's office who will notify the news media in writing. If the case is continued, the assigned division shall indicate such on the request form and send back to the court administrator's office for notification to the news media.

(e) Each individual or group requesting a separate camera shall make a request. Approved recording or photographing may be pooled or shared with other sources without prior approval. When there are several media sources requesting coverage, the first source requesting coverage will be responsible for making pooling arrangements.

(f) Once approval of camera coverage for the trial has been granted, this will also include media coverage approval/not approved for the case at the time of plea and/or at sentencing.

4. Prohibited Activities.

(a) Jurors shall not be interviewed during their service in any judicial proceeding.

(b) Witnesses in a judicial proceeding shall not be interviewed while the judicial proceeding is in progress.

5. General Guidelines.

(a) No media coverage interview of any person shall begin or be attempted within a courtroom or its environs without first obtaining the express consent of the person to be interviewed.

(b) Subject to the discretion of the trial judges, individual defendants in judicial proceedings may be photographed in the courtroom so long as there is no appearance of such defendants being in restraints or in the custody of uniformed corrections officers.

(c) Media coverage equipment should be located in courtrooms unless otherwise approved and shall be as unobtrusive as possible and is subject to the continuing control of the judge assigned to the judicial proceeding.

(d) The Judge shall prescribe the location of the cameras.

6. The judge assigned to the judicial proceeding has discretion not only to permit or prohibit media coverage of judicial proceedings in his/her courtroom but also its environs. Approval for media coverage of any judicial proceeding does not include approval for any media coverage outside the courtroom unless expressly approved.

7. Requests for permanent installation of equipment and/or modification of courtrooms and/or corridors are subject to the approval of the Chief Judge.

Adopted: August 22, 2001
Revised: April 2, 2018