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Courtroom Access

May 2021

Law Banning Audio Recording of Bail Proceedings in Philadelphia Is Unconstitutional

Paul Safier and Shawn F. Summers

This ruling appears to be the first federal court decision to recognize a First Amendment right to record judicial proceedings in any circumstance.

Apr 2021

Access Issues in the Derek Chauvin Trial for George Floyd’s Death

Was there appropriate access to jury selection? Why was full television coverage authorized? Was it justified to ban the Daily Mail from the courtroom for running a prohibited tape? Is the 2-person press pool adequate and reasonable? What other issues are there in running and covering a high-visibility trial during the pandemic?

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Mar 2021

Access to Courts, Information & Newsgathering Issues in a Pandemic

Katie Townsend, RCFP, and David McCraw and Dana Green, New York Times, discuss newsgathering issues: how access was affected by the crisis, as well as privacy and ethical issues in reporting on COVID-related subjects.

Feb 2021

Second Circuit Strikes Down Connecticut Law Sealing Judicial Records in Juvenile Felony Cases Transferred to Adult Criminal Court

Shannon Jankowski and Madeline Lamo

The Hartford Courant argued that the law effectively required secret trials for teenagers accused of murder, rape, and other serious crimes, and seriously impeded its ability to inform readers about court proceedings.

Dec 2020

Judge in George Floyd Prosecutions Allows Cameras in the Courtroom

Emmy Parsons

Finding that an overflow room is no substitute for in-person attendance, the judge overseeing the prosecutions of the four men charged in the death of George Floyd recently ordered that “[a]udio and video recording, broadcasting and streaming will be allowed” of the trial.