Local Rule 83.4

Local Rule 83.4: Photography, Broadcasting, Recording, and Electronic Devices

(a) The taking of photographs and operation of audio or video recording in the courtroom or its environs, and radio, television or other broadcasting from the courtroom during the progress or in connection with judicial proceedings, including proceedings before a United States District, Magistrate, Bankruptcy Judge or Administrative Law Judge, whether or not court is in session, is prohibited. However, attorneys and members of their staffs may possess and use electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence.

(b) The Court maintains a written policy on the use of cellular telephones, paging devices, and laptop computers. For the most recent Court policy, see the Court’s Standing and General  orders which may be obtained from the Court’s website at http://www.almd.uscourts.gov or by calling the clerk's office at (334) 954-3600.

(c) In exceptional situations, at the request of the United States Marshal or United States Attorney, the court may direct limitations on photography and broadcasting to maintain the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, to protect jurors and witnesses, and to further the interests of justice in unusual, hazardous, or inflammatory circumstances.

(d) The broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing of investitive, ceremonial, or naturalization proceedings may be authorized by the presiding judge.

(e) The courtroom and its environs, as such terms are used in this rule, and in the applicable General and Standing Orders of the Court shall include any portion of the United States courthouse buildings and the exterior steps to such buildings, and parking areas adjacent to such buildings if such areas are owned by the United States Government. The environs of the courtroom as defined in this rule shall not include the office of any elected official within any United States courthouse, nor should it include the office area of any other agency within such buildings where photography, broadcasting, and recording have been invited or authorized by the person in charge thereof with respect to a matter which is unrelated to court proceedings or security. Where the interests of justice or public safety may so require, the Court may direct the marshal to extend the environs of the courtroom, as such term is contemplated in this order, to the curb or edge of the public streets or thoroughfares adjacent to such buildings if such areas are owned by the United States Government.

(f) It is the purpose of this order to preserve and protect the dignity and solemnity of court proceedings, to promote public safety and the safety of the court and its personnel, and to facilitate access to court functions by the public and court officers while allowing the progressive use of electronic devices which will aid in the preparation and trial of cases and the hearing and resolution of motions and other court matters. Nothing herein contained shall be construed unreasonably so as to restrict the constitutional rights of any individual.

(g) There is a limited exception to the ban on recording and publication of district court proceedings as set forth in Local rule 83.4 for district judges participating in a pilot program established by the Judicial Conference of the United States in September 2010 (JCUS-SEP 10, pp. 3-4) to evaluate the effect of cameras in district courtrooms, of video recordings of proceedings therein, and of publication of such video recordings.

Any recording and publication conducted pursuant to the pilot program must comply with the program guidelines issued by the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, pursuant to the pilot program (available at www.uscourts.gov).