Court Amends Camera Guidelines

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued new guidlines for media camera coverage of court proceedings.  The new guidelines will take effect on April 7, 2014, and apply to matters heard in the Ninth Circuit courthouses in Pasadena, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, as well as other venues in which the court may sit.

Of particular note is a change to when a request for camera coverage must be made.  The new guidelines require requests to be received by the court at least two business days prior to the proceeding for which coverage is requested.  The advance notice provides time for the panel to consider the request and alerts court staff to the possibility of media coverage.  The old guidelines required advance notice of three business days, so media will now have an additional day in which to file a request.  Media organizations are advised, however, that the court intends to adhere strictly to the two business-day advance notice requirement.  Failure to meet the requirement may result in denial of the request.

In calculating when a request must be filed, a media organization should allow two full business days.  For example, to cover a proceeding on a Wednesday, the request must be received the Friday before, with Monday and Tuesday constituting the two business days.

A media organization undecided about covering a proceeding, either on its own initiative or as part of a pool, should consider the timely filing of a request.  If granted, camera access to the courtroom is assured.  A subsequent decision not to cover the case will not negatively affect the court nor the pool provider.
 
Another change of note is that media can now make requests electronically, using a form-fillable document available online at: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/news_media/.  The court also will continue to accept faxed requests.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed media camera coverage for more than 20 years.  To date, appellate panels have granted nearly 400 media requests for camera coverage.  More recently, the court has begun live audio and video streaming of cases.  Media use of the streaming content is permissible.  More information about video streaming will be forthcoming.

Media should direct questions to the court's Public Information Office, (415) 355-8800.