MISSOURI — The Missouri Supreme Court has adjusted some rules for media coverage in courtrooms across the state for the first time in over 20 years.
This expands what media may request for courtroom coverage, allowing for electronic note taking, tweeting in the courtroom, and allowing two photographers rather than one.
Prior to this ruling, all TV news stations in a market relied on what is called a “pool camera”, which is run by one station, but can be accessed by all. Cameras now are much less bulky and distracting than they were when rules were last modified in 1995. So the Missouri Supreme Court saw fit to expand what can be requested by media.
There are a few types of proceedings in which no cameras are allowed. These include adoptions, domestic cases where a victim’s identity could be at risk, child custody suits, and many cases involving juveniles.
For cases where media is allowed, Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody says one thing that is not changing: individual judges have the final say on what media can use in the courtroom, but now it is a case-by-case basis.
“Ultimate discretion is still vested with the trail judge. If the trial judge still says ‘One camera and one camera only,’ that’s still going to be required. It’s not as though this rule changes to where anyone who wants to bring in a camera who is a member of the media can,” Woody explains.
Upon this ruling coming down, Greene County Presiding Judge Michael Cordonnier had this to say in a statement regarding the ruling.
“(It) changes nothing in Greene County as we have purposely never adopted a local rule prohibiting media coverage. We have always had very good success in working with the media and coming to practical agreements on how best to cover judicial proceedings, consistent with everybody’s objectives.”