Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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 Policy for Media

CANON 3

Except as herein provided a judge should prohibit broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and areas immediately adjacent thereto at least during sessions of court or recesses between sessions.

A trial judge may authorize:

(a) the use of electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence, for the perpetuation of a record for the court or for counsel, or for other purposes of judicial administration;

(b) the broadcasting, televising, recording or photographing of investitive or ceremonial proceedings;

(c) the photographic or electronic recording and reproduction of appropriate court proceedings under the following conditions:

(i) the means of recording will not distract participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings;

(ii) the parties have consented, and the consent to being depicted or recorded has been obtained from each witness appearing in the recording and reproduction;

(iii) the reproduction will not be exhibited until after the proceeding has been concluded and all direct appeals have been exhausted; and

(iv) the reproduction will be exhibited only for instructional purposes in educational institutions.

An appellate court may permit broadcasting, televising, recording, and taking photographs of public judicial proceedings in the courtrooms of appellate courts in accordance with the guidelines set forth in an appendix to this Canon, subject, however, to the authority of each court and the presiding judge of each court or panel to (a) control the conduct of proceedings before the court, (b) ensure decorum and prevent distractions, and (c) ensure the fair administration of justice in the pending cause.

APPENDIX TO CANON 3

Guidelines for Extended Media Coverage of Proceedings in Appellate Courtrooms

I. As used in these guidelines,

A. 'Extended coverage' means any recording or broadcasting by the news media of court proceedings using television, radio, photographic or recording equipment.

B. 'Presiding Judge' means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the Chief Judge of a Court of Appeal, or the senior judge of a panel of which the Chief Justice or Chief Judge is not a member.

C. 'Proceeding' means any hearing, motion, argument on appeal or other matter held in open court which the public is entitled to attend.

D. 'Party' means a named litigant of record who has appeared in the case, and includes a party's counsel of record.

E. 'Media' means legitimate news gathering and reporting agencies and their representatives.

F. 'Court' means an appellate court and includes the Supreme Court of Louisiana and the Courts of Appeal of the several circuits.

II. All extended media coverage of court proceedings shall be governed by the principle that the decorum and dignity of the court, the courtroom and the judicial process will be maintained at all times. Resolution of any question of coverage or procedure not specifically addressed in this section will be guided by this overriding principle.

III. A. The consent or approval of parties to extended coverage is not required. Parties may object to extended coverage by filing a written objection stating the reasons therefore with the Clerk of Court at least 10 days prior to the date of the proceedings. Upon objection by a party, or on the court's own motion, the presiding judge may prohibit or limit extended coverage of a proceeding.

B. Extended coverage shall not be permitted in any proceeding which by law must or may be held in private.

C. The decision of the presiding judge on any question of coverage shall be final and shall not be subject to review by any other court.

IV. Extended coverage of a proceeding shall not be permitted unless notice of intention to provide extended coverage of a proceeding is given by the media to the Clerk of Court at least 20 days in advance of the proceeding, provided that only reasonable notice shall be required for coverage of expedited proceedings not regularly calendared.

V. Extended coverage of court proceedings may be provided by news media agencies and their representatives. Film, videotape, photographs, and audio reproduction shall not be used for commercial or political advertising purposes. Such use of these materials will be regarded as an unlawful interference with the judicial process.

VI. Extended coverage of investitive or ceremonial proceedings at variance with these guidelines may be authorized by the court.

VII. When extended coverage is permitted, all media representatives shall have equally the right to provide coverage. When extended coverage is to be provided by more than one media representative, the media collectively should designate one representative to coordinate with the court all matters dealing with extended coverage. Any pooling arrangements among the media required by the limitations and restrictions on equipment and personnel contained in these guidelines shall be the sole responsibility of the media and must be made in advance of the court proceedings to be covered. Judges and court personnel will not mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media representative or equipment authorized to cover a particular proceeding. If pooling arrangements cannot be made or if there are unresolved media disputes, the presiding judge may deny extended coverage of proceedings.

VIII. A. No more than two portable television cameras, each operated by no more than one camera person and positioned as unobtrusively as possible at locations approved by the court, shall be permitted to be physically in the courtroom. Only television equipment which does not produce light or distracting sound will be permitted. Videotape recording equipment which is not a component part of a television camera shall, whenever possible, be located in an area outside the courtroom.

B. No artificial lighting device of any kind shall be employed in connection with the television camera. With the approval of the court, modifications and additions to existing courtroom lighting may be made provided such modifications or additions are installed and maintained without public expense. Multiple video/audio feeds may be permitted but must be provided by a video/audio distribution system, furnished by the media, located outside the courtroom.

IX. A. No more than one still photographer, using not more than two still cameras with not more than two lenses for each camera without flash or other artificial light, shall be permitted to be physically in the courtroom. Still cameras must not produce distracting sound and should produce no greater sound than the Leica M Series Rangefinder camera. Motorized film advance systems will not be permitted.

B. The photographer shall be positioned in a place designated by the presiding judge and remain in that area except when the proceeding is in recess. Changing of lenses or film will only be done during a recess.

X. Only one audio system for radio broadcast purposes will be permitted in the courtroom. Audio pickup should be made from existing audio systems in the courtroom whenever possible. If no technically suitable audio system exists in the courtroom, microphones and related wiring shall be permitted but must be unobtrusive and located in places designated in advance by the presiding judge. Multiple radio feeds rather than a pooling system may be permitted but must be provided by an audio distribution system, provided by the media, located outside the courtroom.

XI. When extended media coverage is authorized, individual journalists may bring tape recorders into the courtroom and use them to record proceedings so long as they do not cause any distraction. Journalists using tape recorders may sit at any place in the audience portion of the courtroom, but must keep their tape recorder on their person at all times. Changing of tape cassettes during proceedings is not permitted and should only be done during a recess.

XII. All camera and audio equipment must be in position at least 15 minutes before the start of the proceedings and can only be moved or removed after the proceedings are over or during a recess. Television camera persons and still photographers must remain in their designated area and are not permitted to move about the courtroom. Television cameras and radio broadcast equipment, once in position, may not be moved during the proceedings. Movement by television and still photographers should be held to a minimum and in no way should be distracting or call undue attention to the operators.

XIII. Camera and audio equipment authorized by these guidelines shall not be operated during a recess in a court proceeding. Extended coverage in the judicial area of a courthouse or other court facility is limited to proceedings in the courtroom in the presence of the presiding judge.

XIV. The dignity and decorum of the court must be maintained at all times during extended media coverage activities. Court customs, including appropriate dress, must be followed.

XV. The confidentiality of the attorney/client relationship must be protected. Therefore, there will be no audio recording, radio, television, or tape-recording, made or broadcast of any conference between attorneys and their clients, between co-counsel of a client, between counsel and the presiding judge when held at the bench, or of proceedings held in chambers. No parabolic microphones shall be used.

 

Contact: Hon. John Tarlton Olivier - Clerk of Court
400 Royal Street, Suite 4200
New Orleans, LA 70130-8102
504-310-2300

 

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