RECORDING COURT HEARINGS
We’ve had quite a few people ask us the question;
“Can I record my court hearing in Florida with my smart phone or a small video camera?”
The answer surprisingly is yes in most cases in Florida state courts, although it still is prohibited in federal trial courts in Florida.
For more than two decades, cameras have been allowed in Florida courtrooms.
Subject to clearly defined rules, cameras may be excluded from Florida state courts only after an evidentiary finding that their presence would have a substantial effect on a trial participant.
Trial participant could be a defendant, or maybe even a witness. If it’s a jury trial, you will not be allowed to capture any of the jurors.
This substantial effect must be qualitatively different from the effect on members of the public generally and from that of coverage by other types of media.
Camera coverage is usually objected to by criminal defendants who claim the coverage violates their constitutional rights. Claiming that media coverage would make them appear guilty to the jury.
So if you are a defendant in a criminal case, you should be able to video record your own hearing or trial. You’re the defendant, and you certainly are not objecting.
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Links to State by State Guide for all fifty states. Included here are the most current policies from each state, with links to relevant resources and complete details.
Florida is one of the most liberal when it comes to cameras in the courtroom.
Resources include The Reporters Handbook-Cameras in the Courtroom, published by The Florida Bar, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration-Rule 2.450- Technological Coverage of Judicial Proceedings, Link to The Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNA), and more.
RTDNA is the nation’s leading advocate of opening courtrooms at all levels to electronic media coverage and works with newsroom and court leaders across the country to develop clear and fair rules to allows journalists and judges to best serve the people.
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