COUNTY RULES OF PRACTICE
OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
Domestic Relations Division
Effective July 1, 1984 unless otherwise noted
televising, recording and photographing by news media
Broadcasting, televising, recording, and photographing by news media during courtroom sessions, including recesses between sessions, shall not be permitted unless authorized by the Court. Court authorizations shall be governed by Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Superintendence Rule 12.
(1) Requests for permission to broadcast, televise, record or photograph in the courtroom shall be in writing to the Trial Judge or Duty Judge as far in advance as reasonably practical. Request forms may be obtained from the Trial Judge's Bailiff.
(2) The Court shall immediately attempt to inform the attorneys for all the parties in the case of the media request. If time does not permit notification by mail then telephonic means or notification in person must be attempted. The intent of this Rule is to allow attorneys for all parties an opportunity to be heard prior to the Trial Judge deciding the media request.
(3) In the event the Trial Judge approves the media request, (s)he shall prepare and sign a Journal Entry setting forth the conditions of media broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing. This entry shall be made a part of the record of the case.
(4) Arrangements shall be made between or among media for "pooling" equipment and personnel authorized by this rule to cover the court sessions. Such arrangements are to be made outside the courtroom and without imposing on the Trial Judge or court personnel to mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media "pool" representative or equipment authorized to cover a particular session.
Equipment and Personnel
(5) Not more than one portable camera (television, video-tape or movie), operated by not more than one person, shall be permitted without authorization of the Trial Judge.
(6) Not more than one still photographer, utilizing not more than two still cameras of professional quality with not more than two lenses for each camera, shall be permitted without authorization of the Trial Judge.
(7) Not more than one audio system for radio broadcast purposes shall be permitted without authorization of the Trial Judge.
(8) If audio arrangements cannot be reasonably made in advance, the Trial Judge may permit one audio portable tape recorder at the bench which will be activated prior to commencement of the courtroom session.
(9) Visible audio portable tape recorders may not be used by the news media without prior permission of the Trial Judge.
Light and Sound Criteria
(10) Only professional quality telephonic, photographic, and audio equipment which does not produce distracting sound or light shall be employed to cover courtroom sessions. No motor-driven still cameras shall be permitted.
(11) No artificial lighting device other than that normally used in the courtroom shall be employed. However, if the normal lighting in the courtroom can be improved without becoming obtrusive, the Trial Judge may permit modification.
(12) Audio pickup by microphone for all media purposes shall be accomplished from existing audio systems present in the courtroom. If no technically suitable audio system exists in the courtroom, media microphones and related wiring essential for all media purposes shall be unobtrusively located in places designated by the Trial Judge or Magistrate, in advance of any session.
Location of Equipment and Personnel
(13) The television, broadcast and still camera operators shall position themselves in a location in the courtroom, either standing or sitting, and shall assume a fixed position within that area. Having established themselves in a shooting position, they shall act so as not to call attention to themselves through further movement. Sudden moves, pans, tilts or zooms by television or still camera operators are prohibited. Operators shall not be permitted to move about in order to obtain photographs or broadcasts of courtroom sessions, except to leave or enter the courtroom.
(14) Television cameras, microphones and taping equipment shall not be placed in, moved during, or removed from the courtroom except prior to commencement or after adjournment of the session or during a recess. Neither television film magazines, rolls or lenses, still camera film, nor audio portable tape cassettes shall be changed within a courtroom except during recess.
(15) Proper courtroom decorum shall be maintained by all media pool participants, including proper attire, in a manner that reflects positively upon the journalistic profession.
(16) There shall be no audio pickup or broadcast of conferences conducted in a courtroom between counsel and clients, co-counsel, or the Trial Judge and counsel.
(17) The Trial Judge shall prohibit photographing or televising by any means victims of sexual assaults or undercover police officers. The Trial Judge shall retain discretion to limit or prohibit photographing or televising of any juror, victim, witness or counsel or his/her work product, upon objection.
Revocation of Permission
(18) Upon the failure of any media representative to comply with the conditions prescribed by the Trial Judge, the Rules of Superintendence of the Supreme Court, or this Rule, the Trial Judge may revoke the permission to broadcast, photograph or record the trial or hearing.
Effective July 1, 1984; Amended eff. 7/1/99; 7/1/04