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Detailed Guide: North Carolina

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Allows Cameras? Yes (in designated media booths)
Exceptions: Closed proceedings, presiding judge can exempt booth requirement and maintains discretion to close court proceedings regarding juvenile matters and involuntary commitment matters

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

Rule 15 permits media coverage of proceedings at appellate and trial courts under the authority of the presiding judge. The rules for coverage require that the equipment and personnel used in coverage be neither seen nor heard by anyone inside the courtroom and that all personnel and equipment be located in an area set apart by a booth or partition with appropriate openings to allow photographic coverage. The presiding trial judge may permit coverage without booths, however, if coverage would not disrupt the proceedings or distract the jurors. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals may waive the booth requirements in proceedings in these courts. Hand-held audio tape recorders may be used upon prior notification to, and with the approval of, the presiding judge.

The rules do not require the consent of participants, but prohibit coverage of jurors. In addition, coverage of certain types of proceedings, such as adoption, divorce, juvenile proceedings, and trade secrets cases, is prohibited. Coverage of certain types of witnesses, such as police informants, undercover agents, victims of sex crimes and their families, and minor witnesses is also not permitted. Only two television cameras and one still photographer with no more than two cameras are allowed in the courtroom at any one time, and the media are responsible for any pooling arrangements.

Links: Authority
Rule 15: General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts of North Carolina, North Carolina Rules of Court (2000)

Links: Other
North Carolina Courts Media Guidance
North Carolina Courts Youtube

Last edited: December 13, 2022