September 09, 2019

Emergency Amendments to Rules on Possession and Use of Recording and Transmitting Devices in Courtroom and Courthouse

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Montpelier, VT - The Vermont Supreme Court promulgated new rules governing the use of recording and transmitting devices in the Supreme Court and all divisions of the superior court effective September 3, 2019. That amendment added a restriction on use of devices in a courthouse by prohibiting any person from recording or transmitting the image or sound of an individual outside a courtroom without express consent. The prohibition was designed to prevent recording of juveniles, jurors, and participants in confidential proceedings from being recorded in public areas of the courthouse and to prevent the public from using recording as a harassment tool against others attending obligatory court hearings.

On September 4, 2019, the Court promulgated emergency amendments to the rules applicable in the superior court and the Supreme Court. The superior court rule now allows registered media to visually and orally record and transmit in the courthouse but nonmedia are precluded from recording or transmitting without express consent. The restriction on communication with a sequestered witness is preserved and the media are precluded from recording or transmitting images or sound of parties and witnesses in confidential proceedings in areas immediately adjacent to the courtroom. The rule applicable in the Supreme Court is amended to allow nondisruptive recording and transmitting by both media and nonmedia. The Court is accepting comments on the emergency amendments and after the comment period will consider whether to make the emergency changes permanent.

The emergency amendment order is available here:

Read a summary of the new rules, including the recent changes from the emergency amendment.

Comments on the emergency amendment should be sent by November 8, 2019, to:

Emily Wetherell, Deputy Clerk
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801