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Detailed Guide: Virginia

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Allows Cameras? Yes (with permission)
Exceptions: Closed proceedings, in addition to juvenile court and matters involving family law, sexual offense, and trade secrets

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

Extended media coverage of both trial and appellate proceedings is permitted at the sole discretion of the trial judge. Coverage of jurors as well as certain kinds of witnesses (police informants, minors, undercover agents and victims and families of victims of sexual offenses) is prohibited. Media coverage of adoption, juvenile, child custody, divorce, spousal support, sexual offense, trade secrets, and in camera proceedings and hearings on motions to suppress evidence is prohibited as well. Not more than two television cameras and one still photographer (using no more than two cameras) are allowed in the courtroom at any one time, and the media are responsible for any pooling arrangements.

Policies concerning electronic devices in courtrooms vary from court to court. For example, in the Virginia Supreme Court, electronic devices of any kind are prohibited. In one district court, Campbell General District Court, individuals may not bring cell phones inside courthouse buildings. Campbell General District Court makes an exception for counsel, law enforcement, social workers, court service representatives, probation officers, and mediators.

Effective September 9, 2013, counsel presenting oral argument before the Virginia Supreme Court, or a panel thereof, is permitted to bring into the courtroom or panel room a laptop, tablet, or other personal computer solely for use during the presentation of oral argument. The computer cannot be used to record any oral argument or other proceeding or to take still photos or make a video recording. The laptop must be in silent mode. Further, it cannot be used to ”tweet,” email, instant message, or otherwise communicate while in the courtroom or panel room and cannot be used to access the Internet via any method.

Links: Authority
Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-266: Photographs and Broadcasting Permitted Under Designated Guidelines
Supreme Court Writ Panel Procedures
Virginia Supreme Court Laptop Policy
Campbell General District Court: Cell Phone Policy

Links: Other
Virginia Supreme Court Oral Arguments Audio Recordings
Virginia Supreme Court Audio Livestream
Virginia Court of Appeals Audio Recordings of Oral Arguments
Virginia Reporters’ Guide to the Freedom of Information Act in Virginia

Last edited: December 13, 2022