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A00712 Summary:

COSPNSRSolages, Cruz, Paulin, Burdick, Septimo, Hevesi, Simon, Aubry, Sillitti, Simone, Bichotte Hermelyn, Dickens, Shimsky, Gunther, Glick, Tapia, Wallace, Cook, McMahon, Davila
Rpld & add §218, amd §751, Judy L; rpld §52, Civ Rts L
Relates to audio-visual coverage of judicial proceedings; allows the judge or justice presiding over a proceeding to exercise discretion to prohibit or limit filming or photographing of particular participants; defines terms; provides limitations on audio-visual coverage.
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A00712 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the judiciary law, in relation to audio-visual coverage of judicial proceedings; and to repeal section 218 of the judiciary law and section 52 of the civil rights law relating thereto   PURPOSE: Provides for audio-visual recordings in judicial proceedings; repealer.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 repeals Section 218 of the Judiciary law and adds a new Section 218 that provides for audio-visual recordings in judicial proceedings. Details requirements for equipment and personnel including type, location, and movement, provisions for livestreaming, and sound and light criteria, and when limitations on audio-visual coverage are permitted. Section 2 repeals section 52 of the civil rights law. Section 3 amends section 5 of 751 of the judiciary law. Section 4 is the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: The public has the right to observe judicial proceedings. This legis- lation to permit audio-visual coverage of judicial proceedings will increase court accessibility while permitting reasonable restrictions considerate to the needs of witnesses. New York is only one of two states (the other being Louisiana) that doesn't permit audio-visual coverage of judicial proceedings. Session and committee meetings are live-streamed and recorded for the public to watch and so should courtroom proceedings. New Yorkers deserve greater transparency and this legislation will do just that. This bill would also give judges discretion to not allow audio-visual coverage with the specific limitations in the language. The Office of Court Administration is in support of cameras in the courtroom as is the Committee on Open Government.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.5039 of 2019-2020 (Hoylman): Died in Judiciary A.4216 of 2019-2020 (Weprin): Died in Judiciary A.4934 of 2017-2018 (Weprin): Died in Judiciary   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become law
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A00712 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2023-2024 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 11, 2023
        Introduced  by M. of A. WEPRIN, SOLAGES, CRUZ, PAULIN, BURDICK, SEPTIMO,
          once  and referred to the Committee on Judiciary -- recommitted to the
          Committee on Judiciary in accordance with Assembly Rule 3, sec.  2  --
          committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
          recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Judi-
          ciary in  accordance  with  Assembly  Rule  3,  sec.  2  --  committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to said committee
        AN  ACT to amend the judiciary law, in relation to audio-visual coverage
          of judicial proceedings; and to repeal section 218  of  the  judiciary
          law and section 52 of the civil rights law relating thereto
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 218 of the judiciary law  is  REPEALED  and  a  new
     2  section 218 is added to read as follows:
     3    §  218.  Audio-visual  coverage  of judicial proceedings. 1.  Authori-
     4  zation. Subject to the authority of the judge or justice presiding  over
     5  the proceeding to exercise sound discretion to prohibit or limit filming
     6  or  photographing  of particular participants in judicial proceedings to
     7  ensure safety and the fair administration of justice,  audio-visual  and
     8  still  photography coverage of public judicial proceedings in the appel-
     9  late and trial courts of this state shall be allowed in accordance  with
    10  this section.
    11    2.    Definitions.  For  purposes of this section, the following terms
    12  shall have the following meanings:
    13    (a) "Proceeding" shall mean any action or proceeding heard in a  court
    14  of competent jurisdiction in this state.
    15    (b) "Media" shall mean any news reporting or news gathering agency and
    16  any employee or agent associated with such agency, including television,
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 712--B                           2
     1  radio,  radio  and television networks, news services, newspapers, maga-
     2  zines, trade papers, in-house publications, professional journals or any
     3  other news reporting or news gathering agency, the function of which  is
     4  to inform the public, or some segment thereof.
     5    3.    Equipment and personnel. The following shall be permitted in any
     6  trial court or appellate  court  proceeding  other  than  a  matrimonial
     7  proceeding or a proceeding in family court:
     8    (a)  At  least  one compact video camera, operated by no more than one
     9  camera person. Additional permitted cameras shall  be  within  the  sole
    10  discretion  and  authority  of  the  judge or justice presiding over the
    11  proceeding.
    12    (b) Not more than one  audio  system  for  radio  broadcast  purposes.
    13  Audio  pickup for all media purposes shall be provided by existing audio
    14  systems present in the  courtroom.  If  no  technically  suitable  audio
    15  system exists in the courtroom, microphones and related wiring essential
    16  for  media  purposes  shall be permissible provided they are unobtrusive
    17  and shall be located in places designated in advance of  any  proceeding
    18  by  the  judge  or  justice presiding over the proceeding.  In the event
    19  that the courtroom has existing cameras suitable for audio-visual cover-
    20  age, upon request the judge or justice  presiding  over  the  proceeding
    21  shall  have  sole  discretion  to provide a media feed from such cameras
    22  instead of allowing video cameras in the courtroom.
    23    (c) Additional permitted equipment or personnel shall  be  within  the
    24  sole discretion and authority of the judge or justice presiding over the
    25  proceeding.    All costs of all audio and visual coverage shall be borne
    26  by the entity seeking to provide such coverage.
    27    (d) Any pooling arrangements among members  of  the  media  concerning
    28  equipment and personnel shall be the sole responsibility of such members
    29  without  calling upon the judge or justice presiding over the proceeding
    30  to mediate any dispute as to the  appropriate  media  representative  or
    31  equipment authorized to cover a particular proceeding. In the absence of
    32  advance  media  agreement  concerning  disputed  equipment  or personnel
    33  issues, the judge or justice presiding over the proceeding  may  exclude
    34  all media personnel from a proceeding.
    35    4.  Sound and light criteria. Any video and audio equipment, including
    36  still camera equipment, whether film or digital, shall be operated in  a
    37  manner to generate the least possible sound or light, and such equipment
    38  shall  not  be  permitted  if it produces distracting sound or light. No
    39  artificial lighting device of any kind shall be used in connection  with
    40  the video equipment or still camera.
    41    5.  Location  of equipment personnel. Video camera equipment and still
    42  camera photographers shall be positioned in such location  or  locations
    43  in  the courtroom as shall be designated by the judge or justice presid-
    44  ing over the proceeding. The area designated  shall  provide  reasonable
    45  access to coverage of the proceedings, so long as such reasonable access
    46  can  be  provided  without  interference  with  the proceedings.   Video
    47  cameras and operators, and  any  still  cameras  and  photographers,  if
    48  permitted,  shall assume a fixed position within the designated area and
    49  shall not be permitted to move about  to  obtain  photographs  or  video
    50  recordings  of  court  proceedings. Media representatives shall not move
    51  about the court facility while proceedings are in session.
    52    6. Equipment movement during proceedings. News media  photographic  or
    53  audio equipment shall not be placed in, removed from, or moved about the
    54  authorized location as determined by the judge or justice presiding over
    55  the  proceeding,  except  before  commencement  or  after adjournment of
    56  proceedings each day.  Equipment may be moved during a recess only  with

        A. 712--B                           3

     1  the  prior  approval of the judge or justice presiding over the proceed-
     2  ing.  Neither video cassettes or film magazines nor still  camera  film,
     3  digital media cards or lenses shall be changed within a courtroom except
     4  during a recess in the proceeding.
     5    7. Courtroom light sources. With the concurrence of the administrative
     6  judge  or  the  presiding  justice  who  oversees the court in which the
     7  proceeding is occurring, modifications and  additions  may  be  made  in
     8  light  sources existing in the courtroom, provided such modifications or
     9  additions are installed and maintained without public expense.
    10    8. Restrictions on audio-visual coverage. Notwithstanding the  initial
    11  approval of a request for audio-visual coverage of any court proceeding,
    12  the  presiding trial judge shall have discretion throughout the proceed-
    13  ing to revoke such approval or limit such coverage, and may where appro-
    14  priate exercise such discretion to limit, restrict or prohibit audio  or
    15  visual  broadcast  or  photography  of any part of the proceeding in the
    16  courtroom, or of the name or features of any participant therein. In any
    17  case, audio-visual coverage shall be limited as follows:
    18    (a) to protect the attorney-client privilege and the  effective  right
    19  to  counsel,  there  shall  be  no video or audio pickup or broadcast of
    20  conferences that occur  in  a  courtroom  between  attorneys  and  their
    21  clients,  between  co-counsel  of  a  client, or between counsel and the
    22  presiding judge held at the bench;
    23    (b) no conference in chambers shall be subject to audio-visual  cover-
    24  age;
    25    (c)  no audio-visual coverage of the selection of the prospective jury
    26  during voir dire shall be permitted;
    27    (d) no audio-visual coverage of the jury, or of any juror or alternate
    28  juror, while in the jury box, in the courtroom, in the jury deliberation
    29  room during recess, or while going to or from the deliberation  room  at
    30  any time shall be permitted, provided, however, that upon consent of the
    31  foreperson  of  a jury, the presiding trial judge may, in such presiding
    32  trial judge's discretion,  permit  audio  coverage  of  such  foreperson
    33  delivering a verdict;
    34    (e) no audio-visual coverage shall be permitted of a witness, who as a
    35  peace  or  police  officer  acted  in a covert or undercover capacity in
    36  connection with the instant court proceeding, without the prior  written
    37  consent of such witness;
    38    (f) no audio-visual coverage shall be permitted of a witness, who as a
    39  peace  officer  or  police  officer  is currently engaged in a covert or
    40  undercover capacity, without the prior written consent of such witness;
    41    (g) no audio-visual coverage shall be permitted of  the  victim  in  a
    42  prosecution  for  rape,  criminal  sexual act, sexual abuse or other sex
    43  offense under article one hundred thirty or section 255.25 of the  penal
    44  law.  Notwithstanding the initial approval of a request for audio-visual
    45  coverage of such a proceeding, the  presiding  trial  judge  shall  have
    46  discretion  throughout  the proceeding to limit any coverage which would
    47  identify the victim, except that said victim can request of the  presid-
    48  ing trial judge that audio-visual coverage be permitted of such victim's
    49  testimony, or in the alternative the victim can request that coverage of
    50  such  victim's testimony be permitted but that such victim's image shall
    51  be visually obscured by the news media, and the presiding trial judge in
    52  such presiding trial judge's discretion shall grant the request  of  the
    53  victim for the coverage specified;
    54    (h) no audio-visual coverage of any arraignment or suppression hearing
    55  shall  be  permitted  without  the  prior  consent of all parties to the
    56  proceeding, provided, however, where a party is not yet  represented  by

        A. 712--B                           4
     1  counsel,  consent  may not be given unless the party has been advised of
     2  such party's right to the aid of counsel pursuant to subdivision four of
     3  section 170.10 or 180.10 of the criminal procedure law and the party has
     4  affirmatively elected to proceed without counsel at such proceeding;
     5    (i)  no  judicial proceeding shall be scheduled, delayed, reenacted or
     6  continued at the request of, or for the convenience of the news media;
     7    (j) no audio-visual coverage of any participant shall be permitted  if
     8  the presiding trial judge finds that such coverage is liable to endanger
     9  the safety of any person; and
    10    (k)  no  audio-visual  coverage shall be permitted which focuses on or
    11  features a family member of a victim or a party in the trial of a crimi-
    12  nal case, except while such family member is testifying.    Audio-visual
    13  coverage  operators  shall  make all reasonable efforts to determine the
    14  identity of such persons, so that such coverage shall not occur.
    15    9. Impermissible use of media material.  Film,  digital  files,  vide-
    16  otape,  still  photographs,  or audio reproductions captured or recorded
    17  during or by virtue of coverage of a judicial proceeding  shall  not  be
    18  admissible  as evidence in the proceeding out of which it arose, or upon
    19  retrial or appeal of such proceedings.
    20    10. Written order. (a) An order restricting audio-visual coverage with
    21  respect to a particular participant shall be in writing. The order  must
    22  state  good  cause why such coverage will have a substantial effect upon
    23  the individual which would be qualitatively different from the effect on
    24  members of the public in general and that such effect will  be  qualita-
    25  tively different from coverage by other types of media. Before prohibit-
    26  ing  audio-visual  coverage, the presiding judge must first consider the
    27  imposition of special limitations, such as a delayed or  modified  still
    28  or audio-visual coverage of the proceedings.
    29    (b) A presumption of good cause shall exist with respect to the testi-
    30  mony  of  minors  and  testimony  of  any  individual covered by section
    31  fifty-b of the civil rights law.
    32    11. Closing the courtroom. No audio-visual coverage will be  permitted
    33  during  any  period  in  which  the  courtroom is lawfully closed to the
    34  general public in accordance with the United States and New York Consti-
    35  tutions, New York law and court rules.
    36    12. Appellate review.  Any order issued pursuant to this section shall
    37  be subject to review pursuant to  article  seventy-eight  of  the  civil
    38  practice law and rules and any rules of the appellate courts promulgated
    39  to provide expedited review of such order.
    40    13. Regulations.  The chief administrator shall promulgate appropriate
    41  rules  and  regulations for the implementation of the provisions of this
    42  section after affording all  interested  persons,  agencies  and  insti-
    43  tutions  an  opportunity  to  review and comment thereon. Such rules and
    44  regulations shall include provisions to ensure that audio-visual  cover-
    45  age of trial proceedings shall not interfere with the decorum and digni-
    46  ty of courtrooms and court facilities.
    47    § 2. Section 52 of the civil rights law is REPEALED.
    48    §  3.  Subdivision  5 of section 751 of the judiciary law, as added by
    49  chapter 187 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
    50    5. Where any member of the [news] media as [defined in subdivision two
    51  of] referenced in section two hundred eighteen of this chapter, willful-
    52  ly disobeys a lawful mandate of a court issued pursuant to such section,
    53  the punishment for each day that such contempt persists may be by a fine
    54  fixed in the discretion of the court, but not to  exceed  five  thousand
    55  dollars  per day or imprisonment, not exceeding thirty days, in the jail
    56  of the county where the court is sitting or both, in the  discretion  of

        A. 712--B                           5
     1  the  court.  In  fixing the amount of the fine, the court shall consider
     2  all the facts  and  circumstances  directly  related  to  the  contempt,
     3  including, but not limited to: (i) the extent of the willful defiance of
     4  or  resistance  to the court's mandate, (ii) the amount of gain obtained
     5  by the willful disobedience of the mandate, and (iii)  the  effect  upon
     6  the  public  and  the parties to the proceeding of the willful disobedi-
     7  ence.
     8    § 4. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
     9  have become a law.
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