Minnesota weighs keeping legal opening for cameras in courts

The Minnesota Supreme Court holds a public hearing Wednesday on whether it should make permanent a pilot project that has allowed news cameras in criminal courtrooms in limited circumstances.

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 1:55 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court holds a public hearing Wednesday on whether it should make permanent a pilot project that has allowed news cameras in criminal courtrooms in limited circumstances.

Media groups say cameras promote transparency and public understanding of legal proceedings. But opponents, including the Minnesota State Bar Association, say cameras can make victims and witnesses reluctant to testify.

The court authorized the pilot project in 2015. It allows audio, video and still-photo coverage in criminal proceedings after the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty, such as sentencings.

Still prohibited are sexual assault and domestic violence cases, and statements by victims unless they consent. Cameras aren't allowed earlier during a criminal trial except in rare circumstances.

Minnesota also allows cameras in civil proceedings, with a long list of conditions.

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