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Detailed Guide: Maine

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Allows Cameras? Yes (with permission)
Exceptions: Family Division cases and trade secret subject matter

Audio or Video Webcast? Yes
Media Guide Available? Yes
Allows Cell Phones to Record Video? No

Cameras and audio recording coverage are allowed in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Superior Court, and District Court. Judges have the sole discretion to permit video and audio coverage and consider whether such coverage will negatively affect the court proceedings. If the judge denies coverage, the party seeking coverage may ask the judge to reconsider, but orders regarding coverage are not reviewable.

In the Supreme Judicial Court, one must file a notice of intent to cover public sessions, however, prior approval is not required. The Clerk of the Court will instruct individuals or organizations regarding camera placement, and equipment cannot have any insignia or other display of affiliation. The Court will only allow one video camera and one still camera during a proceeding, and the media are responsible for pooling.

For civil proceedings in the lower courts, coverage is allowed in all proceedings except for cases involving the Family Division, child custody, child protection, adoption, paternity, parental rights, protection from abuse or harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, trade secrets, or legally closed matters. In addition, alleged victims and people with detectable physical or mental disabilities may elect to be excluded from coverage. Coverage of the jury is prohibited, along with coverage of conferences among lawyers, clients, witnesses, or judges.

For criminal proceedings in lower courts, judges must approve coverage in advance of the proceedings. The media, with approval, may cover the nontestimonial portions of arraignments, bail hearings, pretrial motions, sentencing proceedings, post-trial motions, probation revocation proceedings, and petitions for post-conviction review. In jury trials, coverage of the jury is prohibited. The media may cover opening and closing statements, jury instructions, and the delivery of the verdict, but may not cover witness testimony. In addition, the media may not cover grand jury proceedings, minors under 18, or conferences among lawyers, clients, witnesses, or judges.

In the lower courts, the judge decides how many cameras are allowed in the courtroom and where they will be placed. Any person or organization must notify the clerk of the court in writing regarding the intent to cover a proceeding. The camera and the recording personnel should not distract from the proceedings, and the equipment cannot bear any insignia or other display of affiliation. The media are responsible for pooling.

Maine courts do not allow people to use electronic devices in the courtroom. Under an administrative order, Maine requires people to turn off cell phones, pagers, computers, and other electronic devices in the courtroom. Electronic devices with cameras that are not authorized for use may be confiscated.

Links: Authority
Administrative Order JB-05-15 (A. 9-11): Cameras and Audio Recording in the Courts
Administrative Order JB-05-16 (A. 5-08): Use of Cellular Phones, Pagers, Computers, and Other Electronic Devices in Courthouses

Links: Other
Maine Courts: For the Media
Maine Supreme Court Livestream

Last edited: December 13, 2022