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Maryland District Court permits publication of court proceedings

Maryland District Court permits publication of court proceedings
Maryland District Court permits publication of court proceedings 00:22

BALTIMORE — The Maryland District Court issued a ruling Friday declaring that recording, broadcasting, and distributing lawfully obtained audio or video recordings is now permitted in Maryland courtrooms.

The Memorandum opinion states, "The State of Maryland remains free to prohibit live broadcasting from the courtroom, and to regulate the release of shielded records and video recordings under the Maryland Rules. However, the State may not sanction the press for broadcasting "lawfully obtained, truthful information" that the State itself has disclosed to the public."

Also called the "Broadcast Ban", this statue previously prohibited the use of "Television, radio, and photographic or recording equipment" to "record or broadcast any criminal matter, that is held in trial court or before a grand jury."

The state's ruling in the case, Sonderberg v. Carrion, was the result of a First Amendment Challenge in 2019, in which the plaintiffs declared that the Broadcast Ban is unconstitutional. 

The implications of this ruling are significant, as it means members of the public and the press can distribute audio and video recording of state court proceeding, as long as they have been lawfully obtained and are truthful.  

"This decision is a victory for community members seeking to shine a light on what happens in state criminal courts. Maryland's blanket ban on publication of recorded court proceedings was a clear violation of the First Amendment", said Seth Wayne, senior counsel at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law.  "We are pleased that the federal court underscored that transparency does not harm the justice system--it protects it."- 

The full opinion can be found here.

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