A gathering of more than 50 journalists, journalism students and faculty and members of the public heard a panel of judges, lawyers and journalists discuss what is permissible use of cameras and mobile devices in Arizona state courtrooms Friday, Jan. 23, at an event sponsored by the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.

Click here for a video report on the event by the Arizona Daily Wildcat newspaper and website.

The discussion, following a similar one held in October in Phoenix, started with recent changes to laws governing the use of cameras,  smartphones, tablets or laptops in Arizona state courtrooms that occurred in 2014. Panelists also talked about the ethics of the use of such devices, and of use of video or audio in broadcasts or on websites, posing challenges to media, members of the public who are also using such devices in open court. Such rules also pose a challenge to judges seeking to balance the media and public’s right to monitor judicial activity under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a defendant’s right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendent.

Panelists who participated in “Mobile Devices and Cameras in Courtrooms: New Rules, New Challenges” were:

  • Cathie Batbie (center), news director at KVOA-TV (Channel 4-NBC), Tucson.
    Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash

    Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash

    Cathie Batbie, news director, KVOA-TV (NBC-4), Tucson.

    Cathie Batbie, news director, KVOA-TV (NBC-4), Tucson.

  • Amelia Craig Cramer, chief deputy Pima County Attorney and former president of the State Bar of Arizona.
  • Patrick McNamara, courts reporter, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson.
  • Scott Rash (above right), Pima County Superior Court judge.
  • Sally Simmons (below right), presiding judge of the Pima County Superior Court and former president of the State Bar of Arizona.

    Judge Sally Simmons

    Pima County Presiding Superior Court Judge Sally Simmons

Dan Barr, partner in the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P.

Dan Barr, partner in the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P.

Moderating the discussion, which took place in a lecture hall at the University of Arizona College of Education Building, was well-known Phoenix media law attorney Daniel C. Barr (left). Barr is a partner in the firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P., and counsel to the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.

The discussion was funded by a grant from the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The coalition extends its thanks to the University of Arizona School of Journalism, David Cuillier, director, for its arranging the location of the event.