April 2, 2014
Contact: Steve Davis, Court Communications Officer,
(515)725-8058 or email@example.com
Supreme Court Approves Amendments to
Rules for Expanded News Media Coverage
Moines, April 2, 2014 — Today,
the Iowa Supreme Court approved amendments to the Iowa Court Rules for Expanded
News Media Coverage (ENMC) —the court rules regulating audio and video
recording and photography of courtroom procedures. The amendments broaden the
court's definition of news media and allow for live electronic reporting, such
as tweeting and blogging, from the courtroom by members of the news media, with
advance approval from the presiding judge.
The amendments to
Chapter 25 of the Iowa Court Rules and the new forms accompanying chapter 25
are effective May 1, 2014.
The updated rules are the
product of a ten-month review by a fifteen-person supreme court advisory
committee consisting of Iowa judges, attorneys, and members of the media.
"I am confident the expanded
news media coverage rules as amended will continue Iowa's tradition of openness
and transparency of court proceedings and move us closer to Chief Justice
Cady's goal of being the best court system in the nation," Justice Bruce B.
Zager, who chaired the committee, said. "I am confident because of the
conscientious way the Expanded News Media Committee approached the challenge of
updating our 30-year-old rules in light of the many changes in technology and
news gathering techniques reporters use today. The supreme court is very
appreciative of the committee's thoughtful and well researched
The amendments will allow
media coverage of initial appearances in criminal cases with approval of the
presiding judge. The rules will allow the request for media coverage to be made
either in writing or orally to the magistrate or judge presiding over the
initial appearance, subject to an oral objection by the prosecutor, defendant,
or defendant's counsel.
The supreme court requested
the review because judges and court staff are faced with bloggers, smart
phones, and twitter, among other forms of technology that were not specifically
addressed in the rules. The EMNC rules were first approved by the supreme court
in 1979 and have been only slightly modified since that time.
"These changes in the
Expanded News Media Coverage rules usher in a new era in news coverage of
Iowa's courtrooms," Iowa Freedom of Information Council Executive Director and
committee member Kathleen Richardson said. "It's exciting to see that the state
remains on the forefront of embracing technological change to allow Iowans
exceptional access to the judicial process."
The amendments to the Iowa
Court Rules for Expanded News Media Coverage and the new forms are located at
Summary of Changes
With the advent of new
technology and newsgathering practices members of the news media use, the amendments
to chapter 25 of the Iowa Court Rules will allow a more consistent use of
expanded news media coverage statewide and continue to allow for judicial
discretion in individual cases. The amendments further transparency of the
legal process while not disrupting court proceedings or interfering with
individual rights. The rules strictly prohibit expanded news media coverage
without prior express authorization from the presiding judicial officer.
New Terms and Definitions
25.1(1) "Expanded news
media coverage" includes broadcasting, recording, photographing, and live
electronic reporting of judicial proceedings by the news media for gathering
and disseminating news in any medium.
Expanded news media coverage is limited to the news media unless the judicial
officer orders otherwise.
25.1(5) "News media"
includes any person who regularly gathers, prepares, photographs, records,
writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information about matters of
public interest in any medium, and who successfully applies to participate in
expanded news media coverage and agrees to comply with all court rules.
is broadly defined to include, but not be limited to, laptop computers,
cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, smart phones, and tablet
computers. Electronic devices not used for recording audio, video, or still
images may be used in the courtroom by members of the news media for live
electronic reporting with advance approval from the judicial officer, provided
the equipment does not make any disruptive noise or interfere with court
equipment. Electronic devices may not be
used by anyone in the courtroom for telephone calls. Electronic devices may not
be used by anyone in the courtroom for photography, video recording, audio recording,
or streaming video unless approved by the judicial officer in advance of the
proceeding. The rule applies to news media only. Use of such electronic devices
by others is prohibited.
electronic reporting" covers tweeting, blogging, and future methods of real
time electronic reporting by text. It does not include photography or video. Members
of the news media using electronic devises for live reporting also require
prior expressed authorization from the judicial officer and must be located in
an area the judicial officer designates.
News Media Identification
in the Courtroom
All news media personnel authorized to use electronic devices in the courtroom
must wear identification, which is clearly visible to the judicial officer and
members of the jury and which states the person's name and media affiliation.
Initial Appearances in
The amendments allow an
expanded news media coverage request for an initial appearance to be made the
day of the hearing either in writing or orally to the judicial officer
presiding over the initial appearance, subject to an oral objection by the
prosecutor, defendant, or defendant's counsel. Authorization for expanded news
media coverage of proceedings subsequent to the initial appearance must be
appearances in criminal proceedings.
a. Oral or written requests for expanded news media
coverage of initial appearances in criminal proceedings must be made to the
judicial officer presiding over the proceeding. Such expanded news media
coverage, if authorized by the judicial officer, is subject to objection by the
prosecutor, defendant, or defendant's attorney.
b. The defendant shall be advised by the judicial officer
of defendant's right to orally object to expanded news media coverage prior to
the commencement of the proceeding, and any such objection will be heard and
determined by the judicial officer prior to the commencement of the proceeding.
The judicial officer may rule on the basis of the oral objection alone.
c. A judicial officer's authorization of expanded news
media coverage of an initial appearance applies only to the particular initial
appearance. Authorization for expanded news media coverage of proceedings
subsequent to the initial appearance must be requested separately.
The new forms the supreme
court adopted with the amended rules are compatible with the Iowa Judicial
Branch Electronic Document Management System (EDMS or eFiling) and available on
the Iowa Judicial Branch website in a fillable and savable format. The new
1 is the notice form for the news media coordinator to use to inform the
attorneys for all parties and the judicial officer of a request for expanded
news media coverage of the proceeding. This form allows the news media
coordinator to list the number of news media members in the courtroom using
electronic devices and the type of electronic devices those members of the news
media will be using.
2 is the form for parties to use to object to expanded news media coverage of
3 is the form for witnesses to use to object to expanded news media coverage of
To prepare for the statewide
use of EDMS and provide consistency during its implementation, the new
amendments allow notice to be filed electronically or by paper copy. This will
allow the media coordinator to mail, hand deliver, email, fax, or, with EDMS,
electronically file the notice with all parties, the judicial officer expected
to preside at the proceedings, and the appropriate clerk of court and court
With electronic filing, the amendments
shorten the time for filing a request for expanded news media coverage from
fourteen days to seven days for all proceedings except initial appearances in
criminal cases. The time of notice for a party to object to expanded news media
coverage remains unchanged at three days.
Number of People Allowed
to Record Video and Audio and to Photograph
Because of the number of
different electronic devices the media uses today, the amended rules increase
the number of members of the news media allowed in the courtroom to record
video and audio and to photograph proceedings. The amended rules do not limit
the number of any particular electronic device, but allow for not more than
five total members of the news media using still cameras, television cameras,
audio recorders, and electronic devices, or any combination of the four for
photography or video and audio recording. This amendment will give members of
the news media flexibility and the judicial officer the ability to control the
courtroom by designating where the news media is located in the courtroom and
which proceedings can be recorded and photographed.
recording, audio recording, and still photography. Not more than
five total members of the news media using still cameras, television cameras,
audio recorders, and electronic devices, or any combination of the four, to
photograph, video, or record audio are permitted in the courtroom during a
judicial proceeding. Each still photographer may use two camera bodies each
with a fixed lens or one camera body and two lenses. Where possible, all
recording and broadcasting equipment that is not a component part of a camera
or an electronic device and any operating personnel shall be located outside of
the courtroom. Audio pickup for broadcast coverage must be accomplished from
any existing audio system present in the courtroom, if such pickup would be
technically suitable for broadcast.
Representatives of news media
are responsible for contributing to electronic pool coverage of judicial
proceedings when necessary. If a news organization is incapable of contributing
to pool coverage, the news media coordinator may allow the news organization to
share the pool coverage or may restrict the news organization's coverage.
Supreme Court and Court of
A separate request for
expanded news media coverage must be made for Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court
of Appeals oral arguments.
Procedure for Requesting
Expanded News Media Coverage
Requests for permission to
use cameras, recording equipment, or other electronic devices in court
proceedings must be submitted to the media coordinator at least seven days in
advance of the time the proceeding is scheduled to occur. Or, if the proceeding
is not scheduled at least seven days in advance, the request must be made as
soon as practicable. The request shall proceed as follows:
representative submits request to media coordinator;
coordinator files written notice with clerk of court and sends notice to all
counsel of record, parties appearing without counsel, district court
administrator, and presiding judge using Rule 25.10-Form 1: News Media
Coordinator's Notice of Request for Expanded Media Coverage of Trial or
to, or witness in, the proceeding may object using Rule 25.10—Form 2: Objection
of Party to Expanded News Media Coverage of Trial or Proceeding or Rule
25.10—Form 3: Objection of Witness to Expanded News Media Coverage of Testimony;
are objections, the judge shall rule on the written objections or hold a
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