Skip to main content

Guidelines for Media Coverage

Questions and Answers

The judge presiding over the hearing is the only person who can approve media presence in a courtroom for a hearing or trial. Contact the judge’s office. If you do not know who the correct judge is to contact, call the Calendaring Office at 503.655.8643, select option 2.

The court, in its discretion, may permit additional public access coverage equipment, provided that:

  • The additional equipment does not interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial or affect the presentation of evidence or outcome of the trial; and
  • Any cost or increased burden resulting from the additional public access coverage does not interfere with the efficient administration of justice.
Not without permission. Permission must be granted for photographs or videos in courthouse public space. For permission to use cameras on court facility premises, but not in a courtroom, you must contact the Office of the Presiding Judge. This restriction applies to all court facilities in the Fifth Judicial District – the Courthouse, Juvenile Court, and the Ralph M. Holman Law Center.

The Court’s authority under Uniform Trial Court Rule (UTCR) 3.180 and Supplemental Local Rule (SLR) 3.181 applies only to court-controlled space within a court facility or on Clackamas County owned premises that include access points to such a facility. This may include the “courthouse steps” but does not include the public sidewalk.

The judge presiding over the hearing can give you permission to tweet or live blog from inside the courtroom. Call the judge’s office in advance of the hearing and obtain permission for this activity. Court staff and Sheriff’s Deputies are trained to enforce the court rule regarding turning communication devices off and will enforce the prohibition against using such devices during court proceedings under SLR 3.185. It will save you embarrassment and time if you obtain specific judicial permission for your use of such communication devices while inside the courtroom.

Tweeting and blogging from the hallway outside the courtroom is not restricted and you may do so. This permission does not extend to using photo, video, or the recording feature of devices, absent first obtaining permission as provided under SLR 3.181.

Call the judge’s office. Depending on the question, the judge may or may not be able to speak to you. Bear in mind that judges are restricted from commenting on pending matters in the court, and can be subject to discipline for doing so. The judge’s staff may screen your question, and once a judge has determined that it is a matter about which the judge cannot comment, please do not push the matter with the judge. It is the judge’s determination that controls on this issue.

​You may request a new camera position if you are in a trial or hearing. It is the judge’s discretion whether you will be permitted to move the camera, but it is appropriate to make the request. Wait until the next break in court proceedings to make the request. Never attempt to move your position without prior approval or while a hearing is in session. Wait for a recess, get permission, and make the move before the court session resumes.

When filming in the public spaces, there is more flexibility, but if you have been given an assigned spot, do not stray from it without permission to do so. There are public areas of the courthouse where photo or video is never permitted to protect jurors or vulnerable users of the court’s services, and a change in position without permission may compromise those safeguards and lead to a temporary exclusion of your station having any public access coverage.

Yes, the video camera must be mounted on a tripod or other device or installed in the courtroom. See UTCR 3.180(7)(c)

The key rules are UTCR 3.180, SLR 3.181, and SLR 3.185. Other than those rules, any judge presiding over a proceeding may put into place additional orders regarding the media and the public access to the proceeding in order to maintain proper decorum and the effective administration of justice during the proceeding. A judge will be quick to let you know if there is a special order regarding the trial or hearing for which you have requested public access coverage.

​A: No. The space allocated to the Grand Jury for its meetings and for its witness is not public space in the Courthouse; it is private space. You may not enter these spaces absent an invitation or a summons to appear before the grand jury. You may wait in the public hallway of the courthouse outside of the Grand Jury’s hearing and witness waiting room.

Yes. Public access coverage is not permitted in any of the proceedings found in UTCR 3.180(2), which is as follows:

  • Proceedings in chambers.
  • Any notes or conversations intended to be private including, but not limited to, counsel and judges at the bench and conferences involving counsel and their clients.
  • Dissolution, juvenile, paternity, adoption, custody, visitation, support, civil commitment, trade secrets, and abuse, restraining and stalking order proceedings.
  • At a victim’s request, sex offense proceedings.
  • Voir dire.
  • Any juror anywhere during the course of the trial in which he or she sits.
  • Recesses.

No, public access coverage if granted in the courtrooms or in the public places in the courthouse must be openly done, with cameras and microphones visible to the parties to the proceeding, to the witnesses, and to the public.

​​A: Yes, if you violate a direct order of the court to comply with the rules and orders of the court regarding public access coverage you risk either summary or remedial contempt sanctions.

​Please complete and submit the form to the judge presiding over the trial, or to the Presiding Judge if this request is for areas within the courthouse, but outside of a specific courtroom.

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how

×