Bill aims to limit camera use in Minnesota courts

Published 8:12 am Thursday, March 22, 2018

ST. PAUL— House lawmakers are proposing steep restrictions on the use of cameras in Minnesota courtrooms.

The House Public Safety committee unanimously passed legislation Wednesday that would require defendants, witnesses and others to approve filming. State courts lifted a longtime ban on cameras and started testing them during criminal sentencing so long as the victims, families and a judge sign off.

Lawmakers and supporters say a camera can steer away reluctant testifiers and victims. But media advocates say the stronger protections would effectively ban filming court proceedings.

Email newsletter signup

Minnesota Newspaper Association attorney Mark Anfinson told lawmakers that cameras benefit the public by letting them see the inner workings of the judicial process.

Neighboring states like Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa allow audio and video for most cases.