Beginning on May 1, judicial officers around the state will have the authority to allow news media into their courtrooms to record, photograph, and broadcast court proceedings that are not confidential.
Rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct has long prohibited broadcasting, recording, or taking photographs of court proceedings and areas adjacent to courtrooms without prior approval by the Indiana Supreme Court. An order amending Rule 2.17, effective May 1, gives the discretion to allow cameras to the local judges.
“This is the culmination of years of work and pilot projects with discussion and evaluation,” said Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush. “Trial court judges are in the best position to determine how to balance the importance of transparency while protecting the rights of people involved in a court matter.”
This change follows a 4-month pilot program, a public comment period, and careful evaluation by the Indiana Supreme Court. Longtime work by the Indiana Judicial Conference Community Relations Committee and Court Security Committee, along with the Hoosier State Press Association and the Indiana Broadcasters Association, led to the most recent pilot project. The judges who opened their courtrooms during the pilot — Judges Fran Gull, Marianne Vorhees, Bruce Parent, Sean Persin, and Leslie Shively — provided essential feedback.
Under the new rule, cameras are still prohibited in court unless authorized by the judge. Commentary included with the rule provides further conditions; for example, certain people — including minors and jurors — may not be shown on camera, only news media as defined in Ind. Code 34-46-4-1 may be authorized, and the judge may revoke authorization at any time for any reason.