COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Media Coverage Protocols

In coordination with the Judiciary's response to COVID-19, the media is welcome to attend any "in-person" court proceedings, subject to the notification requirements of  Rule 30 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules.  Please see below (or click the button) to learn more about media coverage during this time.

Media Coverage - Frequently Asked Questions

What rules govern media coverage in the courtroom?

The media is welcome to cover any of the proceedings occurring in the Second Division.  

There are two principal rules, however, that govern media coverage of events in the courtroom.  The first rule is Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 30, which may be found here.

The second rule is Local Rule 11, which adopts the provisions of Rule 30 for the Hamilton County Criminal Court.  Rule 11 may be found under the Local Rules of Practice page on this website here.

How many television cameras are allowed in the courtroom?

During the limited Suspension Period ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Criminal Court will permit one (1) television camera in the courtroom to cover proceedings, whether those proceedings are "in-person" proceedings or otherwise. 

Once the limited Suspension Period is lifted, then consistent with Rule 30(F)(1) of the Supreme Court Rules, the Court will again permit up to two television cameras in the courtroom at the same time.  Absent other agreement or order of the Court, the second camera to arrive shall be responsible to pool coverage to all other subsequent media outlets.  

Where may the media set up television cameras in the courtroom?  

Television cameras may be set up to the rear of the courtroom next to the entrance door.  The media is requested to follow the instructions of the Court's Bailiff as to where cameras may be placed.    

Does the Court insist on the two-day notification as otherwise required by Rule 30?  

Under typical circumstances, no.   However, during the limited Suspension Period ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court,  this two-day notification will be required.   Once the limited Suspension Period is lifted, then consistent with Rule 30(A)(1), the Second Division will again continue to waive the two-day notice requirement. 

May the media place microphones at the witness stand or on the bench?  

No.  Consistent with Rule 30(G)(3), the Second Division does not permit media microphones at the witness stand or on the bench.  

What is the Court’s policy on the set-up and take-down of camera equipment?  

Consistent with Rule 30, the media is always welcome in the Second Division, although it should avoid being a distraction to the proceedings.  To that end, the Court requests that cameras be set-up prior to the beginning of the proceedings at issue.  The media is also requested not to break-down equipment during proceedings, but to wait until a recess occurs to remove any equipment.

Does the Criminal Court have an Open Records Act Policy?

Yes.  The Second Division is governed by the Tennessee Supreme Court's Open Records Policy, which may be located here.

In addition, this Court is also governed by the Judiciary’s general Open Records Act policy set forth in Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 34 (amended September 15, 2017).  The text of Rule 34 may be found here.

Does the Court have a guide that helps to explain the legal system?

Certainly.  The Tennessee Supreme Court has developed a pamphlet relating to the media and Tennessee Courts.  That pamphlet is available from the Supreme Court here.

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