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STATEWIDE — For years, news media access to trial courtrooms has been a decision left up to the Indiana Supreme Court. Now, that’s up to local judges.

Beginning May 1st, local judges will make the call on whether or not news media can set-up shop inside of a courtroom and capture the case on the record with photos, audio, and video. This announcement comes from Kathryn Dolan, Chief Public Information Officer at the Office of Judicial Administration.

Rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct has always left news media access decisions up to the state’s highest court, however, the rule was amended.

“This is the culmination of years of work and pilot projects with discussion and evaluation,” said Chief Justice Loretta Rush, “trial court judges are in the best position to determine how to balance the importance of transparency while protecting the rights of people involved in a court matter.”

The Indiana Supreme Court came to the decision after a four-month pilot program and a public comment period. That pilot program was backed by the Hoosier State Press Association and the Indiana Broadcasters Association. One of the judges that participated in the pilot program was Judge Fran Gull, who currently serves as special judge in the 2017 Delphi murders case.

This new rule doesn’t mean anyone can record court proceedings at any time. That access has to be given by a judge. Minors and jurors are also off the table, when it comes to filming inside a courtroom. Local judges can also revoke access at anytime.

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