§ 6-2005. Technical.

§ 6-2005. Technical.

   (A) Equipment specifications. Equipment to be used by the news media in courtrooms during judicial proceedings must be unobtrusive and must not produce distracting sound. In addition, such equipment must satisfy the following criteria, where applicable:

   (1) Still cameras. Still cameras and lenses must be unobtrusive and not cause distracting light or sound.

   (2) Television cameras and related video equipment. Television cameras, together with any related equipment to be located in the courtroom, must be unobtrusive in both size and appearance, without distracting sound or light. Television cameras are to be designed or modified so that participants in the judicial proceedings being covered are unable to determine when recording is occurring.

   (3) Audio equipment. Microphones, wiring, and audio recording equipment shall be unobtrusive and of adequate technical quality to prevent interference with the judicial proceeding being covered. The judicial officer must approve any changes in existing courtroom audio systems. No modifications of existing systems should be made at public expense. Microphones for attorneys and judicial officers to use must be equipped with off/on switches to facilitate compliance with § 6-2003(H).

   (4) Electronic devices. All electronic devices used for recording audio, video, or still images must adhere to § 6-2005(C)(1). Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, laptop computers, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, smart phones, and tablet computers. The news media seeking expanded coverage shall disclose in advance all devices which will be used by the news media.

   (5) Advance approval. It shall be the duty of news media personnel to demonstrate to the judicial officer reasonably in advance of the proceeding that the equipment sought to be utilized meets the criteria set forth in this rule. Failure to obtain advance judicial approval for equipment may preclude its use in the proceeding.

   (6) Timeliness. All news media equipment and personnel shall be in place at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time of commencement of the proceeding.

   (B) Lighting. Other than light sources already existing in the courtroom, no flashbulbs or other artificial light device of any kind shall be used in the courtroom. With authorization of the judicial officer, modifications may be made in light sources existing in the courtroom (e.g., higher wattage light bulbs), provided such modifications are installed and maintained without public expense.

   (C) Equipment and pooling. The following limitations on the amount of equipment and number of photographic and broadcast news media personnel in the courtroom shall apply:

   (1) Video recording, audio recording, and still photography.

   (a) one still camera and

   (b) one television camera or video recorder;

   (c) component parts of cameras or video recorders and operators shall, when practical, be located adjacent to the courtroom;

   (d) audio recording devices must utilize existing courtroom equipment unless otherwise approved by the judicial officer.

   (2) Electronic devices not used for recording audio, video, or still images. The devices defined in
§ 6-2005(A) may be used in the courtroom by members of the news media for live electronic reporting with advance approval from the judicial officer, provided the equipment does not make any disruptive noise or interfere with court equipment. Electronic devices may not be used for telephone calls by anyone in the courtroom. Electronic devices for photography, video recording, audio recording, or streaming video may not be used by anyone in the courtroom unless approved by the judicial officer in advance. The rule applies to news media only as defined in § 6-2002(G). Use of such electronic devices by others is prohibited.

   (3) Pooling. Where the above limitations on equipment and personnel make it necessary, the news media shall be required to pool equipment and personnel. Designation of a pool camera is the sole responsibility of the court’s media coordinator. Multiday trials will require a credentialed news media representative to coordinate the daily rotation of camera operators. The judicial officer and court’s media coordinator will not mediate disputes between media representatives from news organizations regarding daily rotation of camera operators. Representatives of news media are responsible for contributing to electronic pool coverage of judicial proceedings. If a news organization is incapable of contributing to pool coverage, the news media representatives shall facilitate the ability to provide pool coverage for each credentialed news organization approved to cover a particular judicial proceeding.

   (D) Location of equipment and personnel. Equipment and operating personnel, including news media using electronic devices to transmit and receive data communication, must be located in, and coverage of the proceedings must take place from, an area or areas the judicial officer designates within the courtroom. The area or areas designated shall provide reasonable access to the proceeding to be covered.

   (E) Movement during proceedings. Television cameras and video and audio equipment may be installed in or removed from the courtroom only when the court is not in session. In addition, such equipment shall at all times be operated from a fixed position. News media personnel are prohibited from moving about the courtroom while proceedings are in session, nor shall they engage in any movement which attracts undue attention.

   (F) Variance application. The judicial officer, upon application of the news media, may permit the use of equipment or techniques at variance with the rules, provided the application for variance is included in the advance notice of coverage provided for in § 6-2004(C). Objections, if any, shall be made as provided in § 6-2004(D). Approval or denial of the variance application is in the sole discretion of the judicial officer.

   (G) Decorum. All news media personnel shall be properly credentialed and shall maintain proper courtroom decorum at all times while covering a judicial proceeding.

§ 6-2005 adopted December 21, 2016, effective March 1, 2017; § 6-2005 amended March 10, 2021.