Friday, June 08, 2012

New SJC Rule on Cameras in Court Effective Date Delayed

The SJC announced yesterday that SJC Rule 1:19, originally slated to become effective July 1, will not take effect until September 17, 2012. According to the press release, the delay is "to allow the courts additional time to prepare for its implementation...Judges, clerks, and security personnel in 101 courthouses throughout the state will receive information and training in the coming months and will develop protocols to comply with the rule’s provisions.  Newly hired and promoted court officers and associate court officers in the Trial Court will be included in the upcoming training sessions."

"Among the major changes are the following:

  The news media are defined as those who are regularly engaged in the reporting and publishing of news or information about matters of public interest.  This would include citizen journalists who meet this standard.
  The news media are allowed to use laptop computers and other electronic communication devices inside courtrooms if they are not disruptive to the proceedings.
  Those seeking to cover the courts using the permitted technology are required to register with the Public Information Officer of the Supreme Judicial Court, confirm that they meet the definition of news media and agree to follow the provisions in Rule 1:19.  In addition, registered news media must request permission from the court prior to using electronic devices in the courtroom.  A judge has the discretion to permit electronic access by a person who has not registered.
The Public Information Office is developing an online registration system for the news media and will be announcing those procedures soon.
  In addition to one video and one still camera, a second mechanically silent video camera is allowed for use by media other than broadcast television and still photographers.
  Motions to suppress may be electronically recorded.
  If news media ask to record multiple cases in a session on the same day, a judge may reasonably restrict the number of cases that are recorded to prevent undue administrative burdens on the court.
  The rule applies to clerk magistrates conducting public proceedings. "