Cameras in Courtrooms

Vigo to Proceed Cautiously With Cameras in Courtrooms

On May 1, Indiana’s judges will be able to grant news organizations access to their courtrooms for the purpose of recording, photographing, and broadcasting open-court proceedings.

Another question entirely is whether judges will welcome this new freedom.

Rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits the use of cameras and recording equipment in courtrooms and has been in effect for many years. Rule 2.17 was modified and published on February 15 by With effect from May 1, Indiana’s Chief Justice Loretta Rush revoked that ban.

Judges in Indiana have the discretion to permit cameras in their hearing rooms.

Judge Chris Newton, the chief judge currently serving in Vigo Superior Court Division IV, stated that he has not yet been persuaded of the new ruling’s effectiveness.

Newton, who has 34 years of experience as a lawyer and/or presiding judge, declared himself a supporter of openness.

“I respect open-door laws, but I don’t want to turn the courtroom into a circus,” he said. “The ability to edit and customize audio is available on camera phones.”

He added, “I don’t mind news cameras, but if people have phones, they might not hold themselves to the same ethical standards as reporters. No free-for-all for me.” In addition, he cautioned against being distracted by flashes from cameras.

Newton said, “As we move forward and wait and see, Vigo County must exercise some caution.”

The amended rule provides that the recording and broadcasting of legal proceedings shall be limited to news media as defined in Indiana Code 34-46-4-1.

“There’s a spring judicial conference where we’ll be able to get information,” Newton said. “As soon as we have more details, we’ll move forward.”

The new decision came after a careful review by the Indiana Supreme Court and a four-month pilot program in which five judges opened up their courtrooms for public comment and feedback.

There are still restrictions; judges can revoke permission at any time for any reason, and it is illegal to show jurors and minors on camera.

According to Newton, seasoned judges may find it challenging to adjust to the new world of courtroom cameras.

“Cameras have been disallowed so long it may be hard to condition ourselves to their presence,” he said. “I’ll exercise caution, as will my coworkers.”

Read More: Are There Cameras in Movie Theaters?

Source: tribstar

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