Cameras in the Courtroom

Virginia State Code Section 19.2-266 states: "A court may solely in its discretion permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during the progress of judicial proceedings."

The law allows for statewide access and requires cooperation and coordination between newspapers. The Virginia Press Association may designate one person to represent still photographers in each jurisdiction. The names of these coordinators shall be forwarded to the chief judge in the county or city in which the coverage is desired so that arrangements can be made for the pooling of equipment and personnel. Coordinators are the only persons authorized to speak for the media to the presiding judge concerning coverage of any judicial proceeding.

The guidelines have been in place since July 1, 1994.

Please remember that at all times, the presiding judge has the authority to prohibit, interrupt or terminate photographic coverage of judicial proceedings. Attorneys for litigants have the right at the beginning of any proceeding to object to photographic coverage. The presiding judge may prohibit or restrict coverage in any case for any reason as the judge deems appropriate.

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