Minnesota Supreme Court OKs limited cameras in courtrooms

The Minnesota Supreme Court has made permanent a three-year pilot project that allows limited use of cameras in the state's courtrooms during criminal cases.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 2:52 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has made permanent a three-year pilot project that allows limited use of cameras in the state's courtrooms during criminal cases.

The high court gave its formal stamp of approval to the rules in an order Monday. Media outlets and independent journalists still can't provide full photo, video and audio coverage of trials and pretrial hearings. But the rules allow audio, video and photos of proceedings after a defendant pleads guilty or is convicted, such as sentencing hearings.

There are exceptions for criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence cases. Testimony from victims or someone testifying on behalf of a victim, hearings without the presiding judge present and cases in treatment courts also are protected. Juries cannot be filmed or photographed.

Mark Anfinson, an attorney for the Minnesota Newspaper Association, told the Star Tribune that the permanent rules represent progress.

"I think the court ultimately will have to go much further, along the lines of what Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota do," he said. "All have allowed routine coverage of court cases for more than 30 years. And more than 30 other states do as well."

Opponents of the change included victims' advocates who worried that crime victims would be unwilling to come forward if they feared that they could end up photographed or on television.

The Supreme Court's order noted that during the three-year pilot project, media requested permission to cover 79 cases. Coverage was allowed in 53.

A majority of members on an advisory committee that monitored the project concluded the overall impact of the coverage ranged from neutral to positive, with minimal disruptions of proceedings, the order said.

"The results of the pilot project ... allow us to conclude that the conditions that govern the coverage of these public proceedings provide the appropriate balance between the fundamental right of a defendant to a fair trial and the judicial branch's commitment to the fair, open, and impartial administration of justice," the order said.

Civil cases in Minnesota have been open to cameras since 2011. Cameras remain prohibited in federal trials.

The final order shortened the notice period for news organizations that want to cover a criminal proceeding from 10 days to seven.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 41571

Reported Deaths: 1537
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13328790
Ramsey5169232
Dakota265596
Stearns249619
Anoka2393111
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Olmsted125920
Washington125541
Mower9822
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Carver4691
Todd4022
Sherburne3625
Lyon3332
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Steele2451
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Pine1120
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Unassigned8838
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Faribault610
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Jackson570
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Brown442
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Fillmore350
Rock340
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Red Lake40
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Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 34564

Reported Deaths: 747
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7332184
Woodbury332944
Black Hawk249259
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14268
Dallas138531
Linn138183
Marshall109219
Scott103110
Dubuque94023
Story8575
Pottawattamie82112
Wapello71431
Muscatine68745
Crawford6803
Sioux5010
Tama48329
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Webster3655
Plymouth3465
Jasper34417
Warren3191
Dickinson2993
Cerro Gordo2841
Washington2519
Hamilton2011
Boone1681
Clay1491
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1321
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1131
Poweshiek1128
Bremer1107
Pocahontas1071
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Cedar951
Emmet950
Henry933
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Floyd812
Taylor810
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Jones710
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Iowa631
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