15.1 - Introduction15.2 - Access to Court Files, Staffs and Dockets15.3 - Crim. p. 35(b) Proceedings (Reconsideration of Sentence)15.4 - Crim. P. 35(c) Proceedings15.5 - Revocation Proceedings15.6 - Appeals to Federal Court15.7 - Appeals in Civil Cases


Canon 3 of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct provides: A judge should perform the duties of his or her office impartially and diligently. (The Code is an appendix to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.) Sections A (7) and (8) of that canon provide:

(7) A judge may authorize:

(a) The use of electronic or photographic means for the perpetuation of a record, or for purposes of judicial administration;
(b) the broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing of investigative, ceremonial, or naturalization proceedings.

(8) Judicial Supervision over Expanded Media Coverage of Court Proceedings. A judge may authorize expanded media coverage of court proceedings, in addition to those referred to in section (7) of this Canon, subject to the guidelines set forth below.

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(I) "Proceeding" means any trial, hearing, or any other matter held in open court that the public is entitled to attend.
(II) "Photograph" and "photography" means all recording or broadcasting of visual images, by means of still photographs, videotape, television broadcasts, motion pictures, or otherwise.
(III) "Expanded media coverage" means any photography or audio recording of proceedings.
(IV) "Judge" means the justice, judge, referee, or other judicial officer presiding over the proceedings. In proceedings with more than one judge presiding, any decision required shall be made by a majority of the judges.
(IV) "Media" means any news gathering or reporting agency and the individual persons involved, and includes newspapers, radio, television, radio and television networks, news services, magazines, trade papers, in-house publications, professional journals, or any other news reporting or news gathering agency whose function it is to inform the public or some segment thereof.

(b) Standards for Authorizing Coverage. In determining whether expanded media coverage should be permitted, a judge shall consider the following factors:

(I) Whether there is a reasonable likelihood that expanded media coverage would interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial;

(II) whether there is a reasonable likelihood that expanded media coverage would unduly detract from the solemnity, decorum and dignity of the court; and
(III) whether expanded media coverage would create adverse effects that would be greater than those caused by traditional media coverage.

(c) Limitations on Expanded Media Coverage. Notwithstanding an authorization to conduct expanded media coverage of a proceeding, there shall be no:

(I) Expanded media coverage of pretrial hearings in criminal cases, except advisements and arraignments;
(II) expanded media coverage of jury voir dire;
(III) audio recording or "zoom" closeup photography of bench conferences;
(IV) audio recording or closeup photography of communications between counsel and client or between co-counsel;
(V) expanded media coverage of in camera hearings;
(VI) closeup photography of members of the jury.

(d) Authority to Impose Restrictions on Expanded Media Coverage. A judge may restrict or limit expanded media coverage as may be necessary to preserve the dignity of the court or to protect the parties, witnesses, or jurors. A judge may terminate or suspend expanded media coverage at any time upon making findings of fact that: (1) rules established under this Canon or additional rules imposed by the judge have been violated; or (2) substantial rights of individual participants or rights to a fair trial may be prejudiced by such coverage if it is allowed to continue.

(e) Conditions for Coverage. Expanded media coverage shall be conducted only under the following conditions:

(I) Equipment Limitations.

(aa) Video. Only one person at a time shall be permitted to operate a videotape, television, or motion picture camera. There shall be only one such camera at a time in the courtroom, except that, at the discretion of the judge, the camera operator may have a second camera. The camera operator may use a tripod, but shall not change location while court is in session.
(bb) Audio. The court's audio system shall be used if technically suitable and, in that event, there must be no interference with the court's use of its system. If the court's system is not technically suitable, then the person conducting expanded media coverage may install an audio recording system at his or her own expense upon first obtaining approval of the judge. All microphones and related wiring shall be unobtrusive and shall not interfere with the movement of those in the courtroom.
(cc) Still Cameras. Only one person at a time shall be permitted to operate still cameras, which shall make as little noise as possible. The still photographer may use a tripod, but shall not change location while court is in session.
(dd) Lighting. No movie lights, flash attachments, or sudden lighting changes shall be permitted during a proceedings. No modification or addition of lighting equipment shall be permitted without the permission of the judge.
(ee) Operating Signals. No visible or audible light or signal (tally light) shall be used on any equipment.

(II) Pooling Arrangements. The media shall be solely responsible for designating one media representative to conduct each of the categories of expanded media coverage listed in subsection (I) of this section, and for arranging an open and impartial distribution scheme with a distribution point located outside of the courtroom. If no agreement can be reached on either of these matters, then there shall be no expanded media coverage of the type for which no pooling agreement has been made. Neither judges nor other court personnel shall be called upon to resolve any disputes concerning such pooling arrangements.

(III) Conduct of Media Representatives. Persons conducting expanded media coverage shall conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the decorum and dignity of the courtroom. The following practices shall apply:

(aa) Equipment employed to provide expanded media coverage shall be positioned and operated so as to minimize any distraction;
(bb) identifying marks, call letters, logos, symbols, and legends shall be concealed on all equipment. Persons operating such equipment shall not wear clothing bearing any such identifying information;
(cc) equipment use to provide expanded media coverage shall not be placed in, or removed from, the courtroom while court is in session. No film, videotape, or lens shall be changed within a courtroom while court is in session.

(f) Procedures. The following procedures shall be followed in obtaining authorization for expanded media coverage:

(I) Request for Expanded Media Coverage. A written request shall be submitted to the judge at least one day before expanded media coverage is requested to begin, unless a longer or shorter time is required or permitted by the judge. Copies of the request shall be given to counsel for each party participating in the proceeding. The request shall include the following:

(aa) The name, number, date and time of the proceeding;
(bb) the type (audio, video, or still photography) of expanded media coverage requested and a description of the pooling arrangements required by section (e)(II), including the identity of the designated representatives.

(II) Objections. Any party or witness may lodge with the judge a written objection to expanded media coverage of all or a portion of a proceeding.

(III) Judicial Authorization. The judge shall rule on a request or objection within a reasonable time prior to the proceeding or promptly after the request or objection if the proceeding has begun. The ruling shall be made on the record and the reasons therefore set forth briefly.

(IV) The media or any witness may not appeal, or seek review by original proceeding, the granting or denial of expanded media coverage. A party may seek review of a ruling by original proceeding, if otherwise appropriate, or by post-trial appeal.

The Twentieth Judicial District has adopted an additional rule to implement Canon 3:

Rule 11. Expanded Electronic Media Coverage

This rule is to serve as a supplement to Canon 3 A (8), Judicial Supervision Over Expanded Media Coverage of Court Proceedings as adopted by the Supreme Court of Colorado, effective December 1, 1985.

(a) Judges of the Twentieth Judicial District recognize rights of the public to be aware of judicial proceedings. It is the intent of this rule to allow television camera coverage of first appearances in a manner meeting needs of the media while allowing for minimal disruption of the court and private citizens.

(b) The first television station requesting media coverage shall be the designated station unless otherwise agreed by the media. Said station shall record for all other television stations.

(c) A written request for coverage using the attached form entitled: Boulder County - Expanded Media Requests for Advisement, must be in the possession of the intake judge by 10:00 a.m. on the hearing date. A copy of the request shall also be provided to the assistant district attorney, defense attorney (if known), or to the public defender's office at the same time. The requesting station may phone the district attorney's office to get defense attorney's name.

(d) Objections to television coverage must be submitted, in writing, directly to the intake judge by noon on the hearing date.

(e) Division clerks shall give original(s) of requests and objections (if any) to the clerk's office for filing.

(f) Judges shall schedule first appearance hearings involving electronic media coverage separately at 2:00 p.m. Other hearings will follow at 2:15 p.m.

(g) Media personnel shall quietly leave the courtroom immediately after completion of a hearing covered, using procedures designated in Canon 3 A (8) and this rule.

An example of the written request that the local rule mentions can be found here.

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