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Court Operating Rules

Section/Rule:COR 16
Subject: Court Operating Rule 16 Publication / Adopted Date:August 21, 1995
Topic:Cameras in the CourtroomRevised / Effective Date:February 2010

Court Operating Rule 16

16.01 Definitions
16.02 In General
16.03 Procedural
16.04 Technical


16.01 DEFINITIONS

a) "Judge" means a municipal division judge, associate circuit judge, or circuit judge presiding in a trial court proceeding, or the presiding judge or justice in an appellate proceeding.

b) "Judicial proceedings" or “proceedings” referred to in this Court Operating Rule No. 16 hearings, or other proceedings in a trial or appellate court for which media coverage is requested, except for those specifically excluded by this Court Operating Rule No. 16.

c) "Media coordinator" as referred to in this Court Operating Rule No. 16 includes the designees of each coordinator.

d) "Media coverage" includes broadcasting, televising, electronic recording, or photographing of judicial proceedings for the purpose of gathering and disseminating news to the public or for the purpose of education.

16.02 IN GENERAL

Broadcasting, televising, recording, and photographing will be permitted in the courtroom under the following conditions:

16.03 PROCEDURAL

a) Media coordinator. Media coordinators shall be appointed by this Court from a list of nominees provided by representatives of the media. The judge and all interested members of the media shall work, whenever possible, with and through the appropriate media coordinator regarding all arrangements for media coverage. This Court shall designate the jurisdiction of each media coordinator. In the event a media coordinator has not been nominated or is not available for a particular proceeding, the judge may appoint an individual from among local working representatives of the media to serve as the coordinator for the proceeding.

b) Advance Notice of Coverage. All requests by representatives of the news media to use photographic equipment, television cameras, or electronic sound recording equipment in the courtroom shall be made to the media coordinator in writing at least five days in advance of the scheduled proceeding. The media coordinator, in turn, shall give notice in writing of said request to counsel for all parties, parties appearing without counsel, and the judge at least four days in advance of the time the proceeding is scheduled to begin. In addition, the media coordinator shall file a copy of the notice with the clerk of the court in the county in which the proceeding is being held. These times may be extended or reduced by court order. When the proceeding is not scheduled at least five days in advance, however, the media coordinator shall give notice of the request as soon as practicable after the proceeding has been scheduled.

c) Objections. The judge shall prohibit the video recording, audio recording, and photographing of a participant in a court proceeding if the participant so requests and the participant is a victim of a crime, a police informant, an undercover agent, a relocated witness, or a juvenile. Upon the objection of a party, the objection of a participant, or on the court's own motion, and for good cause shown, the judge may prohibit any or all of the following: the visual identification, video recording, audio recording, or photographing of a participant in a court proceeding or any or all of the participant's testimony. At or before the commencement of the trial, the judge shall direct counsel to inform, and counsel shall inform, any witness that counsel will call that the witness will be subject to video recording, audio recording, and photographing unless the judge finds good cause to prohibit the video recording, audio recording, and photographing of the witness or the witness' testimony.

d) Dissemination of Media Coordinator Information. This Court shall establish a means by which the name and address of the media coordinators shall be disseminated among the judiciary, court personnel, and media.

16.04 TECHNICAL

a) Equipment specifications. Equipment to be used by the media in courtrooms during judicial proceedings must be unobtrusive and must not produce distracting sound. In addition, such equipment must satisfy the following criteria, where applicable:

b) Lighting. Other than light sources already existing in the courtroom, no flashbulbs or other artificial light device of any kind shall be employed in the courtroom. With the concurrence of the judge, however, modifications may be made in light sources existing in the courtroom (e.g., higher wattage light-bulbs), provided such modifications are installed and maintained without public expense.

c) Equipment and pooling. The following limitations on the amount of equipment and number of photographic and broadcast media personnel in the courtroom shall apply:

d) Location of equipment and personnel. Equipment and operating personnel shall be located in, and coverage of the proceedings shall take place from, an area or areas within the courtroom designated by the judge. The area or areas designated shall provide reasonable access to the proceeding to be covered.

e) Movement during proceedings. Television cameras and audio equipment may be installed in or removed from the courtroom only when the court is not in session. In addition, such equipment shall at all times be operated from a fixed position. Television tapes, still cameras and film and lenses, and audio cassettes shall not be changed within the courtroom except during a recess period. Still photographers and broadcast media personnel shall not move about the courtroom while proceedings are in session, nor shall they engage in any movement that attracts undue attention. Still photographers shall not assume body positions inappropriate for spectators.

f) Decorum. All still photographers and broadcast media personnel shall be properly attired and shall maintain proper courtroom decorum at all times while covering a judicial proceeding.

(Approved for publication Aug. 21, 1995.)