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Detailed Guide: Washington

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Allows Cameras? Yes (with permission)
Exceptions: None

Audio or Video Webcast? Yes
Media Guide Available? Yes
Allows Cell Phones to Record Video? Unclear

The Courts of Washington permit extended media coverage of trial and appellate courtroom proceedings. The presiding judge may place conditions on the coverage, and the judge must expressly grant permission and ensure that the media personnel will not distract participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings. If a judge finds that media coverage should be limited, he or she must make, on the record, particularized findings that relate to specific circumstances of the proceeding. Judges may not rely on “generalized views” to limit media coverage.

The Bench-Bar-Press Committee, established in 1963 and consisting of representatives from all three stakeholders, seeks to “foster better understanding and working relationships between judges, lawyers and journalists who cover legal issues and courtroom stories. The Committee meets annually to evaluate the relationship between judges, attorneys, and the media. In addition to moderating disputes between the bench and the press, the Committee promulgates a nonbinding Statement of Principles, as well as an annual report of its “Fire Brigade” (also known as its Liaison Committee).

Links: Authority
Washington General Rule 16: Courtroom Photography and Recording by the News Media

Links: Other
Media Guide to Washington State Courts
Bench-Bar-Press ”Fire Brigade” Reports 1999-2020
Washington Supreme Court Oral Arguments Archive
Washington Courts Livestream
Bench-Bar-Press Committee Website
Washington Courts YouTube

Last edited: December 13, 2022