(KCPW News) Video cameras could be coming to Utah courtrooms. Currently, they’re only allowed in the state’s appellate courts, but a vote of the Utah Judicial Council Monday would pave the way for them to be allowed in district courtrooms as well. State Courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer notes, however, that individual judges would have the final say on whether to permit them for each case.
“We’re always cognizant of protecting the rights of victims and also jurors, and so there are exclusions on what can currently be photographed in the courtroom,” she says. “A judge can ask that the victims or family members, certain witnesses are not photographed, so that would be the same with the video cameras as well.”
The policy will now go to the council’s policy and planning committee, and public comment will be considered before it’s up for final approval.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill supports having video cameras in courtrooms.
“I think we’re supposed to have a court system which is open and public, and I think the more that the public has insight into it and sees the working at it, I think that can only be good for the court system, it’s only good for democracy, and it talks about transparency, which is the promise that we give to all our citizens,” he tells KCPW.
The Utah Judicial Council is also considering a uniform policy allowing the use of other technology in the courtroom, like smartphones, though taking pictures with them would not be allowed.
How do you feel about this topic?
Is there anything else you think we should know? We'd like to hear your thoughts. Send us your feedback using the form below.