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Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Test Period for Cameras in the Courtroom

The Minnesota Supreme Court has instituted a two-year test period to examine the use of cameras in the courtroom.

While the high court struck down a petition by several local news organizations to revise the state’s restrictions on recording devices in district courts for criminal cases, the test period, which will begin July 1st, will allow for the audiovisual recording of some civil cases.

Beginning in July, video cameras, still cameras, and other recording devices will be allowed into the courtrooms of certain civil cases, pending a judge’s approval.

“I hope we the media can build some trust in a judiciary that has some serious concerns about cameras and recording devices,” KARE news director Tom Lindner told the Associated Press. “We really are quite good at doing this and not interfering with people’s rights. We’d like to be able to show that.”

For the past few years, local media groups have been petitioning the state Supreme Court to loosen its restrictions on the use of cameras in criminal cases, which currently requires the approval of the judge, the prosecution, and the defense.

The new test period for civil cases comes with strict limitations, though, according to the Associated Press. Witnesses will be allowed to reject being recorded and cases barred from A/V coverage include divorce, child custody, juvenile, child protection, and paternity proceedings.

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