Courtroom Media Coverage Guidelines

Arizona Supreme Court Rule 122 - Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Public Judicial Proceedings

News media agencies must notify the Phoenix Municipal Court, in writing, at least 48 hours in advance, of their intent to provide film, videotape or still photographic coverage of judicial proceedings in the courtroom. Notice should be faxed or filed with the Court Administration Office (602) 262-1899, fax (602) 262-7156. The notification will be referred to the hearing judge for review.

If the hearing judge approves the noticed coverage, only one news media television camera and one still camera, each mounted on a tripod, each with a single camera operator, will be permitted in the courtroom while court is in session. Cameras must be placed in designated locations. Interviews in any part of the courtroom are prohibited.

No auxiliary lighting, including flash bulbs, strobe lights and reflectors, may be brought into the courtroom by members of the media. Rule 122 requires the use of a suitcase-like blimp on all still cameras. The amendment allows for the substitution of a Nikon F4 with a Nikon CS-13 camera blimp.

Interviews in the hallways outside the courtrooms are prohibited unless the hearing judge issues a camera order that allows hallway coverage. If the judge prohibits hallway cameras, interviews must be conducted in lobby areas or outside the court building. It is the media’s responsibility to find out what the camera ruling is prior to the scheduled proceeding. If the ruling is made more than one hour prior to the hearing time, members of the media may call the Court Administration Office to obtain the ruling. Otherwise, the ruling will be announced by the hearing judge immediately prior to the scheduled hearing and a pool camera should be ready to be placed in the courtroom immediately upon a favorable ruling. The hearing judge will determine where cameras and microphones may be placed in the courtroom. Judges may differ on this issue so members of the media should ask. Filming jurors or even giving the appearance of doing so is strictly prohibited.

In the courthouse, cameras are allowed only in public areas, not in judicial or staff work areas unless specifically authorized by the hearing judge.

News media must arrange any pooling of footage or film among themselves. The court will not participate in any pooling agreement.

Equipment and camera operators must be ready to record at least one hour prior to the court proceedings.

Equipment must not be installed, moved, or removed from the courtroom while court is in session. Camera operators may not move around in the courtroom while court is in session.

All floor cables must be taped down with cloth gaffer’s tape. Tape should not be placed on walls or paneling. All tape applied should be removed after the proceeding. Tape on floor must not create a safety hazard.

When attorneys approach the bench to discuss legal issues with the judge, recording their comments is strictly prohibited.

Reporters may use personal audio recorders in the courtroom, but usage must not be obtrusive or distracting.

All persons engaged in coverage permitted by these guidelines should avoid any conduct or dress which could distract from the dignity of the proceeding.

Effective Aug. 24, 1999.