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63 Judicature 14 (1979-1980)
The Story behind the Adoption of the Ban on Courtroom Cameras

handle is hein.journals/judica63 and id is 16 raw text is: The story behind the adoption
of the ban on courtroom cameras
It appears that the photographers outside
the Lindbergh trial-not the ones inside-
caused the commotion that led to a total ban
on courtroom photography
by Richard B. Kielbowicz

The 1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann dis-
closed a variety of free press-fair trial prob-
lems, but in the wake of the trial, only a
single measure, Canon 35, was brought forth
by the American Bar Association as an en-
forceable rule. As one of the ABA's Canons
of Judicial Ethics, Canon 35 was offered as a
model for state bar associations. It admon-
ished judges:
Proceedings in court should be conducted with
fitting dignity and decorum. The taking of photo-
graphs in the courtroom, during sessions of the
court or recesses between sessions, and the
broadcasting of court proceedings, degrade the
court and create misconceptions with respect
thereto in the mind of the public and should not
be permitted.
The canon was disturbing to the media
because it prevented them from using new
reportorial tools in covering the courts. But
they were also upset with the manner in
The author would like to thank Professor Beverly
Bethune of the University of Georgia for her criticism
of an earlier draft of this article.
14 Judicature/Volume 63, Number 1/June-July, 1979

which the bar association adopted Canon
35-a manner which left little hope for the
prospects of future press-bar co-operation.
Despite the ignoble circumstances of its
birth, Canon 35 has stood virtually intact
from the time of its passage to the present.
Federal jurisdictions and all but three states
adopted the ban in one form or another. In
1972, when the Code of Judicial Conduct
supplanted the Code of Judicial Ethics,
strictures against still cameras and the elec-
tronic media in court were retained in sec-
tion 3A(7) of the new code. And even after
five years of successful experiments with
cameras and broadcasting in court,1 the
ABA House of Delegates declined yet anoth-
er invitation to relax the rule last August2
and last February.3
1. For a survey of recent experiments with cameras in
courts, see Frank White, Cameras in the Courtroom
(paper presented to the Association for Education in
Journalism, August 16, 1978).
2. House bucks trend for cameras in court, 64 A.B.A.
J. 1342 (September, 1978).

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