Today’s per curiam from the Arkansas Supreme Court–In Re Amendment to Administrative Order No. 6–permits broadcasting, recording, and photography in appellate proceedings in the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
This big change in the way Arkansas’s appellate courts do business comes with a lengthy set of rules governing the use of cameras in the courtrooms–the following is a summary of some of the highlights from the amendments to Administrative Order Number 6 that govern the use of cameras and electronic devices in all courtrooms across the state:
- Judges may authorize broadcasting, recording, or photographing in the courtroom and the areas adjacent to the courtroom throughout the proceedings, recesses, etc., as long as the participants will not be distracted and the dignity of the proceedings will not be impaired.With a timely objection, parties or attorneys can preclude broadcasting, recording, or photographing of the proceeding.
- Witnesses have a right to refuse to be broadcast, recorded, or photographed.
- Jurors, minors without parental or guardian consent, victims in cases involving sexual offenses, and undercover police agents or informants shall not be broadcast, recorded, or photographed.
- Juvenile matters, probate matters, and domestic relations matters shall not be subject to broadcasting, recording, or photographing.
- Judges will retain ultimate control of the application of the rules and their decisions will be final and not subject to appeal. At any time, the court may determine in its discretion to terminate the broadcast, recording, or photography.
- Only two cameras will be permitted in the courtroom during a trial: one camera for still photography and one for video/television photography. The media will have a pooling arrangement whereby representatives of the news media will share the photography and video footage. If the court has its own broadcasting, recording, or photography system, the court’s system shall be used, unless the court determines otherwise.
- Electronic devices cannot be used in courtrooms to broadcast, record, photograph, e-mail, blog, tweet, text, post, or transmit information by any other means except as may be allowed by the court.
- Oral arguments at the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals may be recorded, broadcasted, or webcasted through a live or tape-delayed format as the Supreme Court shall direct. The Supreme Court’s courtroom is being equipped with a system to record and broadcast oral arguments that the Court plans to implement in the 2010 Fall Term of the Court. Those recordings will be retained at the Clerk’s office and may be purchased for a cost to be set by the Court to cover the cost of the copies. Objections to the recording of oral arguments and other appellate proceedings may be made to the Court.