SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed Judicial Council rule that would allow video cameras into the state's courtrooms came one step closer to implementation Monday.

The Judicial Council approved the initial proposal allowing cameras into the courtroom that came from the council's study committee on technology in the courtroom. The proposal was then sent to the policy and planning committee, which drafted a rule that was unanimously approved Monday.

Video cameras will be allowed into courtrooms the same way still cameras are now allowed — only with advance approval from the judge and with one pool photographer representing all media. There are general rules that prohibit photographing jurors or minors and ultimate discretion is left to the judge.

But judges who want to prohibit or restrict access will have to explain their reasoning in the court record.

Tim Shea reported to the Judicial Council Monday that the rule was amended to also allow for audio recording for radio reporters, "so radio wouldn't have to rely on video for audio recording." The rule allows for one audio recorder, one video camera and operator and a still photographer in the courtroom, with the judges' approval.

A second rule allows for the use of electronic devices in the courtroom as long as people don't use the devices to record or transmit photos, videos or sounds beyond those media outlets approved to do so by the judge. Ultimately, though, the use of the devices is up to the judge.

"In the end, the judge is the leader, the controller of the courtroom and needs to have that discretion," Shea said.

Still, the rule states that "judges are encouraged not to impose further restrictions unless use of a portable electronic device might interfere with the administration of justice, disrupt the proceedings, pose any threat to safety and security, compromise the integrity of the proceedings or threaten the interests of a minor."

The proposed rules will now be published for public comment. Those wishing to view the rules and offer feedback will be able to do so on the Utah State Courts website.

Once the public comment period ends, the rules will be returned to the Judicial Council where the comments will be presented. The rules will then either be passed or returned to the policy and planning committee for further revision.

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