TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: April 11, 2014
RE: Rule 10.1, N.D.R.Ct., Conduct in Court
The Cameras on the Courtroom Commission is currently working on amendments to N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 21. A copy of their proposed amendments is attached for the committee's information. During the commission's discussion of the amendments, the issue of people using smartphones to record court proceedings arose, prompted by the smartphone incident at the U.S. Supreme Court. The commission considered amending Admin. Rule 21 to address this issue, but decided it would be inappropriate. Commission Chair Justice Sandstrom suggested instead that this committee address the issue.
Rule 10.1 already addresses camera and recorder use in the courtroom, but it does not consider the current capability of smartphones to photograph, record and shoot video of court proceedings. Staff has prepared proposed amendments to update the rule. The amendments were drafted to reflect the fact that, given current technology, it may be impractical to bar all electronic devices capable of making a photograph, video, or recording from the courtroom.
The proposed amendments are attached along with an Associated Press article describing the impact smartphone use can have on court proceedings.