Board reverses stand on cameras in the courts

After a spirited discussion, the Board of Governors ended a 16-year policy opposing cameras in the courtroom and threw its support behind a proposed revision to Rule 980 of the California Rules of Court. The rule would allow recording equipment in the courts at the discretion of the presiding judge.

The board approved the recommendation of its taskforce which asked that strong consideration be given to the fair trial rights of all parties. The taskforce also asked that 13 factors in the proposed rule be given special priority by judges in making a decision about cameras in the courtroom.

Some of the factors included maintaining public trust and confidence in the judicial system, promoting public access, the effect on witnesses who have access to televised testimony of prior witnesses and the security and dignity of the court.