The question of whether courts can or should ban electronic devices in courthouses and courtrooms has been batted back and forth for years, with many state courts coming up with usage and possession policies (click here for a list of such policies). Oklahoma may be the first state in the country, however, to enact a specific law on the practice.
Oklahoma’s Senate Rules committee last week approved SB 403 which would provide an outright ban on electrons devices in the state’s courtrooms.
Specifically, SB 403 can be broken down into two parts. The first is effectively a ban on cameras in the courtroom without the court’s consent
Unless specifically authorized by the court, all means of photographing, recording, broadcasting and televising shall be prohibited in any court of this state.
It is the second portion that addresses spectators only and their e-devices.
Unless specifically authorized by the court, spectators shall not use computers, cellular telephones or any other electronic devices in any court of this state.
The restrictions would not apply to
- the presentation of evidence by audio or video
- making the official record of a proceeding
- court security
- any other purpose authorized by the court as necessary to the administration of justice
SB 403 is now on the Senate floor and could be voted on as early as Monday, March 4.