New Directive Requires Livestreaming of Certain Criminal Proceedings

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright on April 12 signed Chief Justice Directive 23-02, requiring judicial officers to livestream certain proceedings in criminal cases subject to staffing and technological limitations.

After receiving more than 100 public comments on a draft version of the CJD, the Supreme Court’s virtual proceedings committee adopted some clarifying revisions, according to a press release from the court. The CJD seeks to balance consistent transparency in criminal proceedings with a trial court’s discretion to determine when the public’s interest in observing proceedings remotely is outweighed by the interests of the parties and witnesses, the court said in a press release. The CJD will go into effect May 15.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that throughout the pandemic, the public has come to appreciate and expect the ability to remotely observe proceedings in criminal cases,” Boatright said in the press release. “This CJD will create as much consistency as we believe possible while allowing judicial officers enough flexibility to decide when circumstances in a specific case, or even in a specific hearing, do not favor live streaming.”

Under the CJD and according to the press release, proceedings would be livestreamed only if a courtroom’s staffing and technological capabilities can accommodate it. Disruptive viewers could be expelled or muted by the court without warning and be subject to contempt proceedings. Audio or video recording, screenshots or photos of any livestreamed court proceedings without express permission from the court will be prohibited and also subject to contempt proceedings.

The court announced the virtual proceedings committee will continue to meet regularly and recommend any modifications of the CJD while continuing its work on a related draft CJD regarding remote participation in court proceedings.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers introduced a bill to create permanent livestreaming of criminal trials. 

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