Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Approves Experimental Use of Cameras in District Courts

From the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council

SAN FRANCISCO – The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, governing body for
federal courts in the western states, has approved, on an experimental basis, the limited
use of cameras in federal district courts within the circuit. The action was announced
today by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit.

The Judicial Council voted unanimously to allow the 15 district courts within the Ninth
Circuit to experiment with the dissemination of video recordings in civil non-jury matters
only. The action amends a 1996 Ninth Circuit policy that had prohibited the taking of
photographs, as well as radio and television coverage, of court proceedings in the district
courts. It also responds to a resolution supporting the use of cameras, which was passed
by judges and lawyers attending the 2007 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.

“We hope that being able to see and hear what transpires in the courtroom will lead to a
better public understanding of our judicial processes and enhanced confidence in the rule
of law. The experiment is designed to help us find the right balance between the public’s
right to access to the courts and the parties’ right to a fair and dignified proceeding,”
Judge Kozinski said.

Cases to be considered for the pilot program will be selected by the chief judge of the
district court in consultation with the chief circuit judge. The participating district courts
will be asked to evaluate their experiences and report to the Council.

The Ninth Circuit takes in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada,
Oregon, Washington, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands. There are four district courts in California and two in Washington.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has permitted television and radio broadcasting of
oral arguments with approval of the panel hearing the case. Since 1991, the court has
permitted video and audio recordings of oral arguments in approximately 200 cases.
All of its oral arguments are available on its website –
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/

From the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council

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