Hawaii Supreme Court Amends Rules Regarding Electronic/Photographic Coverage of Courts

The Hawaii Supreme Court has amended Rule 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 regarding electronic/photographic coverage of court proceedings, technical guidelines when extended coverage is permitted, and use of electronic devices in courtrooms.
U.S. citizen Berenson attends a hearing which reviews her parole at an anti-terrorism court in Lima
Here is a link to the modified rules, which were just posted today on their website:


To summarize the rules:

  • The extended coverage application process remains the same
  • The number of video cameras remains the same (one pool camera and the judge may grant a second camera for live coverage at his/her discretion)
  • The number of still cameras remain the same (one still photographer allowed and the judge may allow a second still photographer).  The only change to this rule is that a still photographer may also video record proceedings (this was at the request of Civil Beat and other online media that would like to be able to take video clips with their still cameras)
  • Another modification to the rule is that media used to be able to audio record a court proceeding using a hand-held recorder.  That technology has become almost obsolete, so a member of the public or an individual from the media may now use electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, cell phones or smart phones for audio recordings of the proceeding, with the prior permission of a judge
  • The judge may also grant a timely request by a member of the public or individuals from the media to use electronic devices for note-taking purposes as well.  This request is not included in the extended coverage application nor does it have to be in writing.  Media or members of the public can ask a judge’s law clerk prior to a proceeding or work with our office in advanced for this prior permission from the judge
  • In all other cases, electronic devices cannot be used during a court proceeding.  The members of the bar, judiciary personnel and self-represented litigants may use electronic devices under specific conditions (for court-related business).
  • Electronic devices may be brought inside the courtroom, but ring tones and other sounds shall be silenced and the devices cannot be used to make or receive calls inside the courtroom
  • A presiding judge may prohibit or further restrict the use of any electronic devices prior to the proceedings to protect the interests of security, safety, privacy of parties, jurors, witnesses, attorneys, etc.