Federal Courts Will Pilot Livestreaming Audio in 13 Districts

By 
The Daily Record

Thirteen federal district courts will be livestreaming audio of select proceedings in civil cases of public interest over the next year as part of a two-year pilot program.

Some courts have already made proceedings available, such as a hearing on a presidential election lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia on Dec. 7, which the Administrative Office for the U.S. Courts said attracted more than 42,000 listeners, and a September status conference in the case of U.S. v. City of Ferguson in the Eastern District of Missouri.

The other districts participating in the pilot include Northern California, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Northern New York, Western Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Eastern Tennessee,  Eastern Washington, Southern Florida and Washington, D.C. The courts will be livestreaming by February.

Courtroom audio will be made available on the courts’ YouTube channels. Audio streaming under the pilot program requires parties’ consent and is subject to the presiding judge’s discretion. The pilot excludes trials and civil proceedings involving jurors and witnesses, and it excludes any confidential or classified matters.

Outside of the pilot, broadcasting remains prohibited, and the audio livestreams may not be recorded or rebroadcast.

“The pilot reflects the judiciary’s commitment to transparency and to increasing public access to court proceedings – an issue that has taken on even greater importance in the last year,” said Judge Audrey G. Fleissig of the District of Eastern Missouri, who chairs the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management.

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