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Allows Cameras? NoExceptions: Ninth and Second Circuit will sometimes grant permission.
Audio or Video Webcast? YesMedia Guide Available? YesAllows Cell Phones to Record Video? No (Exception: Ninth Circuit allows with advanced permission.)
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In the Supreme Court of the United States, no photography is permitted inside the courtroom at any time. Audio recordings of oral arguments are available online.
The United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit allows extended media coverage. The media must make a request two business days in advance to the Clerk of Court. The presiding panel has sole discretion to grant or prohibit camera coverage of any proceeding.
The United States Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit allows limited extended media coverage. Criminal matters may not be covered. Additionally, pro se matters may not be covered. Media must notify the court’s calendar clerk no later than two days before the day of the proceeding. The presiding panel has sole discretion to grant or prohibit camera coverage of any proceeding.
Fourteen federal trial courts participated in the federal Judiciary’s four-year digital video pilot beginning July 18, 2011. Barring party or judge objection, the participating courts posted recordings of proceedings to the federal Judiciary’s public website. In total, the participating district courts posted 158 proceedings of trials, in addition to motions and evidentiary hearings. The data collection portion of pilot concluded July 18, 2015.
In March 2016, the Judicial Conference Committee recommended that the federal district court policy regarding cameras stay in place. Ultimately, the Conference refrained from allowing expanded media access beecause the pilot project findings reportedly failed “to produce sufficient or persuasive evidence of a benefit to the judiciary to justify the negative effect upon witnesses and/or the significant equipment and personnel costs associated with video recordings.” Following the pilot program, the Ninth Circuit authorized three districts (the District Court for the Northern District of California, District Court of Guam, and District Court for the Western District of Washington) to continue the pilot program as a way for the Judicial Conference to continue gathering data on the issue.
Courts are limited to recording civil proceedings in which the parties have consented to recording. Under Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, photographing in the courtroom, as well as broadcasting of judicial proceedings is prohibited. Federal bankruptcy courts are also excluded. A judge can choose to stop a recording if it is necessary to protect the rights of the parties and witnesses, preserve the dignity of the court, or a judge may choose not to post a video recording for public view. Coverage of jurors is prohibited. Although the media may request that a proceeding be recorded, the media is not permitted to create recordings of courtroom proceedings.
Links: Authority• Supreme Court of the United States FAQs• Ninth Circuit Camera Guidelines• Second Circuit Camera Guidelines• Judicial Conference Committee Federal Pilot March 2016 Report• Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 53, pg 64
Links: Other• Federal Trial Court Available Videos: The District Court for the Northern District of California, the District Court of Guam, and the District Court for the Western District of Washington• Supreme Court of the United States Oral Arguments• Federal Judiciary YouTube Channel• Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts• Judicial Policy Guide: Portable Electronics
Last edited: December 13, 2022