Cameras in the Courtroom

Rule 1.150: The "Cameras Rule"

camera man

Under Rule 1.150, the "Cameras Rule," judges use descretion when allowing cameras and other recording devices into their courtroom. Judges most often do grant access but there are procedures that media must be followed. 

The media must use Form MC-500 and Form MC-510 to submit their request at least five court days before the portion of the proceeding to be covered begins. Often, if good cause is shown, a judge may accept the request with shorter notice. The court clerk must notify the judge that a request has been filed. If a judge has not been assigned, the request will be submitted to the judge supervising the calendar department. 
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Rule 1.150: 

• Leaves to judges’ the discretion to allow the use of cameras in all areas, including all pretrial hearings in criminal cases;

• Prohibits camera coverage of jury selection, jurors, and spectators in the courtroom;

• Lists 18 factors a judge must consider in ruling on a request for camera coverage— including the importance of maintaining public access to the courtroom, preserving the privacy rights of the participants in the proceedings, and the effect of camera coverage on counsel’s ability to select an unbiased jury;

• Continues to ban cameras at proceedings held in chambers or closed to the public; conferences between an attorney and a client, witness, or aide or between attorneys; and conferences between counsel and the judge at the bench; and

• Since Jan 1, 2006, includes new digital technologies, such as camera cell phones, in the restrictions on the use of photographing, recording, and broadcasting in state courtrooms and makes these technologies subject to a judicial order permitting their use.

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Reference Materials

Fact Sheet: Cameras in the Courtroom

News Release (February 8, 2007)
Cameras in California Courts: Rule 980 Renumbered as Rule 1.150

Report on Rule 980 (May 2000) (266 KB)
Please note that Rule 980 has been renumbered and updated and is now Rule 1.150

Photographing, Recording, and Broadcasting in the Courtroom: Guidelines for Judicial Officers (1997)

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