STATE OF NEW YORK
March 17, 2022
Introduced by M. of A. WEPRIN -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. CAHILL,
GALEF, QUART -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary
-- 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 Section 218 of the judiciary law is REPEALED and a new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 filming or
6 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. Equipment and personnel. The following shall be permitted in any
12 trial or appellate court proceeding:
13 (a) At least two compact video cameras, each operated by no more than
14 one camera person. Additional permitted cameras shall be within the sole
15 discretion and authority of the judge or justice presiding over the
17 (b) Not more than two still photographers, using not more than two
18 still cameras each.
19 (c) Not more than one audio system for radio broadcast purposes.
20 Audio pickup for all media purposes shall be provided by existing audio
21 systems present in the courtroom. If no technically suitable audio
22 system exists in the courtroom, microphones and related wiring essential
23 for media purposes shall be permissible provided they are unobtrusive
24 and shall be located in places designated in advance of any proceeding
25 by the judge or justice presiding over the proceeding.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 9592--A 2
1 (d) Any pooling arrangements among members of the media concerning
2 equipment and personnel shall be the sole responsibility of such members
3 without calling upon the judge or justice presiding over the proceeding
4 to mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media representative or
5 equipment authorized to cover a particular proceeding. In the absence of
6 advance media agreement concerning disputed equipment or personnel
7 issues, the judge or justice presiding over the proceeding may exclude
8 all contesting media personnel from a proceeding.
9 3. Livestreaming. (a) Within six months of the effective date of this
10 section, and subject to appropriation by the legislature, the chief
11 administrator of the courts shall provide for:
12 (i) the installation and maintenance of cameras in all Supreme, Coun-
13 ty, City, and Appellate courtrooms;
14 (ii) the transmission of live proceedings on a publicly available
15 website, free of charge, in audio-visual form; and
16 (iii) the preservation of all recordings in archival form on a public-
17 ly available website for continued access, free of charge.
18 (b) Within eighteen months of the effective date of this section, and
19 subject to appropriation by the legislature, the chief administrator of
20 the courts shall provide for:
21 (i) the installation and maintenance of cameras in all Family, Town,
22 and Village courtrooms;
23 (ii) transmission of live proceedings on a publicly available website,
24 free of charge, in audio-visual form; and
25 (iii) preservation of all recordings in archival form on a publicly
26 available website for continued access, free of charge.
27 4. Sound and light criteria. Video and audio equipment, including
28 still camera equipment, whether film or digital, shall not be permitted
29 if it produces disorienting sound or light. No artificial lighting
30 device of any kind shall be used in connection with the video equipment
31 or still camera.
32 5. Location of equipment personnel. Video camera equipment and still
33 camera photographers shall be positioned in such location in the court-
34 room as shall be designated by the chief administrative judge of the
35 court or the chief administrative judge's designee. The area designated
36 shall provide reasonable access to coverage of the proceedings. Still
37 camera photographers shall assume a fixed position within the designated
38 area and shall not be permitted to move about to obtain photographs of
39 court proceedings. Media representatives shall not move about the court
40 facility while proceedings are in session, and microphones or taping
41 equipment shall not be moved during the pendency of the proceeding.
42 6. Equipment movement during proceedings. News media photographic or
43 audio equipment shall not be placed in or removed from the court facili-
44 ty except before commencement or after adjournment of proceedings each
45 day, or during a recess. Neither video cassettes or film magazines nor
46 still camera film, digital media cards or lenses shall be changed within
47 a courtroom except during a recess in the proceeding.
48 7. Courtroom light sources. With the concurrence of the chief adminis-
49 trative judge of the court, modifications and additions may be made in
50 light sources existing in the courtroom, provided such modifications or
51 additions are installed and maintained without public expense.
52 8. Conferences of counsel. To protect the attorney-client privilege
53 and the effective right to counsel, there shall be no audio pickup or
54 broadcast of conferences that occur in a courtroom between attorneys and
55 their clients, between co-counsel of a client, or between counsel and
56 the presiding judge held at the bench.
A. 9592--A 3
1 9. Impermissible use of media material. Film, digital files, vide-
2 otape, still photographs, or audio reproductions captured or recorded
3 during or by virtue of coverage of a judicial proceeding shall not be
4 admissible as evidence in the proceeding out of which it arose, in any
5 proceeding subsequent or collateral thereto, or upon retrial or appeal
6 of such proceedings.
7 10. Written order. An order restricting audio-visual coverage with
8 respect to a particular participant shall be in writing and be included
9 in the record of such proceeding. The order must state good cause why
10 such coverage will have a substantial effect upon the individual which
11 would be qualitatively different from the effect on members of the
12 public in general and that such effect will be qualitatively different
13 from coverage by other types of media. Before prohibiting audio-visual
14 coverage, the presiding judge must first consider the imposition of
15 special limitations, such as a delayed or modified still or audio-visual
16 coverage of the proceedings.
17 11. Closing the courtroom. No audio-visual coverage or livestreaming
18 will be permitted during any period in which the courtroom is lawfully
19 closed to the general public in accordance with the United States and
20 New York Constitutions, New York law and court rules.
21 12. Appellate review. Interlocutory review of an order restricting
22 audio-visual coverage shall be expedited in accordance with the rules of
23 the applicable appellate court.
24 13. Regulations. The provisions of this act shall supersede any
25 provision to the contrary in Part 131 of the Rules of the Chief Adminis-
26 trative Judge, 22 NYCRR Part 131, Part 29 of the Rules of the Chief
27 Judge, 22 NYCRR Part 29, and any other court rule regarding audio-visual
28 coverage of judicial proceedings.
29 § 2. Section 52 of the civil rights law is REPEALED.
30 § 3. Subdivision 5 of section 751 of the judiciary law, as added by
31 chapter 187 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
32 5. Where any member of the [news] media as [defined in subdivision two
33 of] referenced in section two hundred eighteen of this chapter, willful-
34 ly disobeys a lawful mandate of a court issued pursuant to such section,
35 the punishment for each day that such contempt persists may be by a fine
36 fixed in the discretion of the court, but not to exceed five thousand
37 dollars per day or imprisonment, not exceeding thirty days, in the jail
38 of the county where the court is sitting or both, in the discretion of
39 the court. In fixing the amount of the fine, the court shall consider
40 all the facts and circumstances directly related to the contempt,
41 including, but not limited to: (i) the extent of the willful defiance of
42 or resistance to the court's mandate, (ii) the amount of gain obtained
43 by the willful disobedience of the mandate, and (iii) the effect upon
44 the public and the parties to the proceeding of the willful disobedi-
46 § 4. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
47 have become a law.