News media agencies must notify the Camp Verde Municipal Court, in writing, at least 48 hours in advance, of their intent to provide film, videotape or still photographic coverage of judicial proceedings in the courtroom. Notice should be faxed or filed with the Court Supervisor’s Office (928) 567-6635 Ext. 127, fax (928) 567-9049. The notification will be referred to the hearing judge for review.
If the hearing judge approves the noticed coverage, only one news media television camera and one still camera, each mounted on a tripod, each with a single camera operator, will be permitted in the courtroom while court is in session. Cameras must be placed in designated locations. Interviews in any part of the courtroom are prohibited.
No auxiliary lighting, including flash bulbs, strobe lights and reflectors, may be brought into the courtroom by members of the media. Rule 122 requires the use of a suitcase-like blimp on all still cameras. The amendment allows for the substitution of a Nikon F4 with a Nikon CS-13 camera blimp.
Interviews on the walkway outside the courtroom are prohibited unless the hearing judge issues a camera order that allows walkway coverage. If the judge prohibits walkway cameras, interviews must be conducted in other areas away from the court building. It is the media’s responsibility to find out what the camera ruling is prior to the scheduled proceeding. If the ruling is made more than one hour prior to the hearing time, members of the media may call the Court Supervisor’s Office to obtain the ruling. Otherwise, the ruling will be announced by the hearing judge immediately prior to the scheduled hearing and a pool camera should be ready to be placed in the courtroom immediately upon a favorable ruling. The hearing judge will determine where cameras and microphones may be placed in the courtroom. Judges may differ on this issue so members of the media should ask. Filming jurors or even giving the appearance of doing so is strictly prohibited.
Cameras are not allowed in judicial or staff work areas unless specifically authorized by the hearing judge.
News media must arrange any pooling of footage or film among themselves. The court will not participate in any pooling agreement.
Equipment and camera operators must be ready to record at least one hour prior to the court proceedings.
Equipment must not be installed, moved, or removed from the courtroom while court is in session. Camera operators may not move around in the courtroom while court is in session.
All floor cables must be taped down with cloth gaffer’s tape. Tape should not be placed on walls or paneling. All tape applied should be removed after the proceeding. Tape on floor must not create a safety hazard.
When attorneys approach the bench to discuss legal issues with the judge, recording their comments is strictly prohibited.
Reporters may use personal audio recorders in the courtroom, but usage must not be obtrusive or distracting.
All persons engaged in coverage permitted by these guidelines should avoid any conduct or dress which could distract from the dignity of the proceeding.
Harry E. Cipriano
Town of Camp Verde Arizona