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§ 6-2003. General.

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§ 6-2003. General.

   Expanded news media coverage of judicial proceedings as set forth in the definition of Judicial Proceedings (see § 6-2002(F)) shall be permitted under the following conditions and limitations:

   (A) Prior authorization. Except as set forth in subsection (E), no expanded news media coverage shall occur without prior authorization from the judicial officer, who may prescribe conditions of coverage as provided in this rule.

   (B) Rights to a fair trial. Expanded news media coverage of a proceeding is permitted unless the judicial officer finds that under the circumstances of the particular proceeding, such coverage would interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial.

   (C) Objections. Parties to the proceeding may object to expanded news media coverage of the judicial proceeding (see exception § 6-2003(E)). The ruling by the judicial officer on objections rests within the sole discretion of the judicial officer and is a nonappealable temporary injunction or suspension of expanded news media coverage.

   (D) Coverage of witnesses.

   (1) Expanded news media coverage of a witness may be denied by the judicial officer upon objection and showing of good cause.

   (2) Expanded news media coverage of the testimony of an alleged victim/witness in criminal or civil cases when the alleged victim/witness is a minor under 19 years of age, the proceedings relate to sexual abuse or sexual assault, or such are essential elements of the matter is not allowed.

   (E) Initial appearances in criminal proceedings in County Court.

   Expanded news media coverage of initial appearances in criminal proceedings in County Court involving bond settings and arraignments is permitted unless otherwise ordered by the court pursuant to § 6-2003(B), (F), and (J). The right of parties to object to expanded media coverage involving bond settings and arraignments does not extend to such proceedings.

   A judicial officer's granting of expanded news media coverage of an initial appearance applies only to that particular initial appearance. Authorization for expanded news media coverage of proceedings subsequent to the initial appearance must be requested separately under § 6-2004(C).

   (F) Excluded judicial proceedings. Expanded news media coverage is prohibited in:

   (1) pretrial criminal motion hearings;

   (2) all juvenile court proceedings;

   (3) criminal and civil cases where the plaintiff and/or defendant is under 19 years of age at the time of the judicial proceeding except in criminal cases in which the defendant, although a minor, is charged as an adult and the court has approved expanded news media coverage for that proceeding;

   (4) dissolution/divorce/modification/child support enforcement hearings;

   (5) all adoption proceedings;

   (6) all paternity case proceedings;

   (7) all protection order hearings;

   (8) all guardianship/conservatorship/probate case proceedings;

   (9) all trade secret case proceedings; 

   (10) all criminal and civil jury selection as further defined in § 6-2003(G); and

   (11) all grand jury proceedings.

   Note: Exceptions may be granted for subsections (1) through (9) when consent is obtained from all parties but remains subject to approval by the judicial officer.

   (G) Coverage of jurors. In all circumstances, expanded news media coverage of all summoned and/or impaneled jurors is prohibited. However, expanded news media coverage of the return of the jury's verdict shall be permitted, so long as there is no photographic, video, or audio coverage of jurors.

   (H) Court conferences. Expanded news media coverage of conferences (see § 6-2002(A)) held in a judicial proceeding between attorneys and their clients, between co-attorneys, between attorneys and the judicial officer and court staff held at the bench, judicial chambers, or judicial staff offices is prohibited, as is all related attorney work product on screens or in writing.

   (I) Equipment. The quantity and types of equipment permitted in the courtroom are subject to the discretion of the judicial officer consistent with these rules.

   (J) Limiting coverage during the proceedings. The judicial officer may exclude, suspend, limit, and/or terminate expanded news media coverage by one or more individual news reporters at any time during the proceedings in the event the judicial officer finds that these rules, or additional rules imposed by the judicial officer, have been violated or there is good cause to believe that the rights to a fair trial will be prejudiced.

   (K) Identification. All news media personnel authorized to broadcast, record, photograph, and live electronic report (e.g., tweeting, instant blogging, etc.) judicial proceedings in the courtroom must wear proof of Public Information Office credentialing that is clearly visible to the judicial officer, court security, the public, and members of the jury. Said personnel shall also be subject to any and all security screening/scanning as deemed necessary by any office or agency providing security for the particular courtroom or judicial proceeding. Identification must be in the form approved by the Public Information Office of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

   (L) Violation. Expanded news media coverage of one or more individual news reporters may be excluded, suspended, limited, and/or terminated by the judicial officer if there is good cause to find the news media has acted or failed to act in compliance with these rules and/or the order permitting expanded news media coverage in force at the time of the violation. A judicial officer’s finding of a violation is separate from an administrative suspension or revocation of credentials imposed by the Public Information Office of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

   (M) Administrative Suspension or Revocation of Media Credentials. The Public Information Officer of the Nebraska Supreme Court may suspend or revoke the credentials of a journalist upon the violation of these rules or an order of a judicial officer. Journalists who have suspended or revoked credentials by the Office of Public Information must reapply for credentialing. An administrative suspension or revocation of credentials does not constitute the closing of judicial proceedings.

   (N) Electronic device notetaking. Electronic device notetaking does not constitute expanded news media coverage under these rules and, therefore, shall be allowed by the court, with the following limitations:

   (1) Notetaking includes the typing of notes during court proceedings; or, the audio recording of court proceedings to be utilized only to check for accuracy of news reporting.

   (2) No audio recording of any kind shall be made of testimony provided by a child victim, a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault as provided under § 6-2003(D)(2), a victim of domestic violence, or if the judicial officer denied expanded news media coverage of a witness under § 6-2003(D)(1).

   (3) Any dissemination of a copy of an audio recording made for purposes of notetaking requires permission under § 6-2004.

§ 6-2003 adopted December 21, 2016, effective March 1, 2017; § 6-2003(F) amended and (M) adopted June 24, 2020; § 6-2003 amended March 10, 2021.