It has been argued that, because the majority of Americans have no personal experience of the legal system and the majority of Americans derive their information about the world exclusively from television, the representation of justice on television is extremely important to the continued viability of the legal system and to the individual`s understanding of that system.  Senator Charles Schumer argued: “The courts are an important part of our government, and the more our institutions of government are presented to the public, the more worthy they become and the more the public understands them. Allowing cameras into our courtrooms will help demystify them and allow the public to judge how well the system is working.  Justice Otto Moore of the Colorado Supreme Court said in 1956: “Hear the complaints that the use of these modern means of transmitting thought in the pulpits of our great churches destroys the dignity of service; that they belittle the pulpit or create misunderstandings in the public mind? The answers are obvious. What is done with dignity will not become unworthy, as more people will be allowed to see and hear.  William O. Douglas argued that televised trials should not be allowed because they allow the press to pressure judges to decide a case in a certain way, particularly in jurisdictions where judges are elected.  In general, for editorial or artistic purposes, it is not illegal to take a photo of someone without their permission while you are on public land. However, whenever possible, it may be beneficial to get permission from the person if you know you want to use the image internationally or commercially in the future. In the case of a particular court trial, the court may, in the interests of justice or to ensure that a person is not unduly disadvantaged – An unfortunate 19-year-old received a harsh lesson in the intricacies of the court`s photography policy last week. The teen was sitting in the public gallery of Luton Crown Court last Friday when he received a message from a friend asking where he was. In the first phase of this project, only cases convicted by the highest judges will be broadcast.
If the changes are successful, this will likely be extended to any case brought before the Crown Court. Taking pictures in a courthouse is not a crime in itself (at least that`s what I see). But photographing and photographing in a courthouse IS severely restricted – and if you`re wrong, the penalty is criminal – but not terribly high: the £50 fine probably seemed more substantial in 1925, but now it`s less than a parking ticket (it`s also potentially contempt of court, for which the judge could punish you). Section 32 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 allows the Lord Chancellor to make exceptions to section 41 of the CJA and section 9 of the CCA, thereby allowing filming and photography. That should be the answer! In fact, only two orders providing for exceptions have been made: with respect to the Court of Appeal and the reasons for judgment before the Crown Court. As far as I know, no order has been made allowing children (who are parties and, in some cases, witnesses) to be photographed at adoption parties in a courtroom. At the turn of the century, there was a Manchester County Court judge named Parry who wrote memoirs that are exceptionally easy to read. It tells the story of a citizen who disagreed with a verdict he had just given and who stood up and said it and ended with these words: “I have total contempt for this court”. Senator Arlen Spectre has proposed televising the U.S. Supreme Court trial.  The Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, introduced by Charles Grassley, “would authorize the presiding judge of a United States Court of Appeals or a United States District Court to permit the public to photograph, electronically record, broadcast or television broadcast judicial proceedings presided over by that judge.”  The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that it be reviewed by the Senate as a whole.
 Photographing or photographing in court has long been a criminal offence; Even illustrators have to draw from memory and not in court. Wouldn`t it be good/better to have a camera these days? Like a surveillance camera (maybe two to see everything) that has a view of the entire courtroom and is kept as a file, just like they keep transcripts. The reason courts ban cameras is simply to avoid distractions and protect privacy. The phone was confiscated and the teenager, Paul Thompson, was taken to the cells under arrest. An hour later, Thompson appeared in court again, was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to two months in prison. A few years ago we obtained permission from HMCTS to shoot a film in a courthouse (see here), and although the local court system approved the project, on its face of it, no part of section 32 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 applied as no order had been issued and we were not dealing with “specific procedures” (and in fact, I`m not sure if it was in effect when we filmed). We worked, as surely everyone else, on the assumption that we could take photos (including videos) at the courthouse, but we could not take photos/videos of litigants, witnesses, etc. That`s why we shot on a Saturday when there was no one there. From time to time, films are shot and photos taken in courthouses – with all the appropriate permits. Anyone who authorizes these shots must interpret section 41 in the same way as I do, otherwise there is a general disregard for the law on the part of the judiciary and the judiciary. Photos are fine IF they are not from people involved. Another advantage of sketching over photography is that you are unlikely to accidentally draw someone who should not be identified, whereas photos offer much less protection.
There are good reasons not to photograph child victims of crimes and sometimes jurors (for example, you don`t want them murdered by the defendant`s “associates” during the trial), and sketches make it much less likely that you will accidentally catch one of them. The same problem arises with CCTV cameras in courthouses, which lawyers, parties, witnesses and jurors continuously record as they go about their business at the courthouse. Again, I cannot find any provision that creates an exception to the blocking in section 41 of the CRA, and assuming I am correct when I interpret video recordings as falling within the definition of “photograph” (since it is essentially a sequence of photographs), section 41 appears to prohibit security video surveillance recordings, although they are not intended for publication. I could write a long blog post talking about the daily rigor of passing court security, but everything would be heat and little light (the predominant heat source is my cup of freshly purchased tea at reactor core temperature, which I sometimes ritually have to burn my finger or mouth to satisfy the assurance that I`m not an evil genius who is disguised as a lawyer (but apparently only on days than with a T). In 2017, the NGO Open Ukraine launched the VR Court Project, which aims to film court hearings using 360-degree handheld 3D video cameras to create VR video recordings of the hearings. (a)take or attempt to photograph in court a person who is a judge of the court or jury, or a witness or party to civil or criminal proceedings in court; or Fortunately, I also remembered the recent splashes on the front pages of many newspapers of various familiar faces of the great and good of family law, who mocked Justice Bodey`s charming and horrible jokes as he bid farewell to the CJRC. Now, I`m pretty sure the photographers who photographed them in court didn`t disobey the court and whoever let them in didn`t mean it either – so if it`s good enough for the High Court bench, it`s good enough for me. Suesspicious Minds also reminds me that there are many moons, he himself wrote about it (see comments for links) and also came to the conclusion that it cannot be an old photo that equates to contempt.
So I`m pretty sure I don`t need to spend a wing to take a picture of someone else`s crude graffitti.