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Media Information
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General Information

Media Forms

Case Updates - Twitter Feed

All updates for Court proceedings, including jury deliberations, next court dates, verdicts, etc., will be provided via the Court’s Twitter feed: @scscourttwitter.

Questions related to proceeding updates should be directed to media@scscourt.org

Media Access to Court Facilities

No recording devices, including still and video cameras, as well as voice recorders will be permitted into any courthouse without an approved order by a judge.

Approved orders for Court proceedings DO NOT extend to hallways or public areas of the courthouse.

Media outlets wishing to capture or record events in the hallways or public areas will need to submit a separate request, as only the Supervising Judge for that facility or Presiding Judge has the authority to grant coverage in public areas.

Court facilities are designated free speech zones and media have a right to record in front of courthouses. However, at no time shall any person or object directly impede an individual from entering or exiting the building.

The Sheriff’s Office personnel at any facility’s metal detector will be able to assist media with determining an appropriate place to set up that does not impede pedestrian entry or exit.

Submitting MC500/510

All requests to record proceedings (MC-500 and MC-510 ) must be submitted electronically to media@scscourt.org. The Court no longer accepts hand-delivered or faxed requests.

Requests must be received five business days in advance of the hearing, with the exceptions listed below:

  •  3:30 PM on the previous day before a 9 AM calendared matter
  • 11:30 AM that same day for a 1:30 PM calendared matter.
  • Generally, any media outlet wishing to record a 1:30 PM felony arraignment at any one of our three criminal courthouses (Hall of Justice, Palo Alto and Morgan Hill) must submit their request no later than 11:30 AM that same day. No requests will be processed after 11:30 AM. Case numbers are preferred but not required for arraignments, as often case numbers are not available before 11:30 AM.
  • Generally, any media outlet wishing to record a felony plea or other pre-trial matter handled by one of our felony cases manager judges at the Hall of Justice will be automatically permitted as long as the outlet meets the following cut off times:

Pooling Arrangements

  • Hall of Justice: generally, four video cameras and two still cameras will be permitted into arraignment and pre-trial matters handled by one of our felony case management judges. For video, the last media outlet to submit their request will be designated pool – unless that outlet uses a unique format, with the pooling then adjusting to the second to last outlet to submit a request. At the request of print outlets, still camera pooling and the accompanying photo credit will be given to the first outlet to submit its request. For all other non arraignment and pre-trial matters, pooling will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Palo Alto & Morgan Hill: generally, one video and one still camera will be permitted to felony arraignment and pre-trial matters. For these matters, outlets will be designated pool. For all other non pre-trial matters, pooling will be determined on a case-by-case-basis.
  • All other Santa Clara County Courthouses: pooling will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Trial Coverage

It’s critical that media requests are submitted five days or more in advance of the trial. The Court needs adequate time to notify the parties, and if necessary set a hearing to discuss the matter. Media outlets should consider providing any and all pertinent information in their request relating to public interest with respect to media access to the case.

Please note, there is little justification for not meeting the five day rule as trials are generally set weeks in advance.  A journalist or media outlet just learning of a court hearing is generally not perceived as a sufficient reason for noncompliance with the five day rule.

Court File Requests

Journalists should obtain court records through the standard public process outlined below. Please use the Court Copies Request Form .

Reporters on deadline and in need of immediate assistance should contact the Court’s Public Information Officer directly at jmacaluso[-at-]scscourt.org.

Electronic and paper copies of Court records are $0.50 per page, with an additional $5 charge for credit cards. Click to open and download the Court Copies Request Form .

Administrative Records

The Court is governed by California Rule of Court 10.500  with respect to public access to administrative records. Media outlets wishing to obtain administrative records should email the Public Information Officer directly at jmacaluso[-at-]scscourt.org.

The personnel cost associated with retrieving information contained in the Court’s databases will be charged to the person or entity requesting the data.  Rates vary.

Electronic and paper copies of administrative records are $0.50 per page, with an additional $5 charge for credit cards. Click to open and download the Court Copies Request Form .

Obtaining Transcripts

Court proceedings may be captured either by a court reporter or taped electronically. Depending on the specific proceeding, either a paper transcript or a copy of an electronic recording may be available upon request. Click here to learn more…

Laws and Policies Governing Media Access and Procedures

Juvenile Proceedings

Sketch Artists

Media are to solicit and contract sketch artists directly as the Court will play no role in coordinating the purchasing of images.

Sketch artists are not required to obtain permission prior to coming to Court and sketching images. There are limited circumstances where sketch artists would not be permitted to capture images from the courtroom; however, these will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Inmate/Booking Photo Information for Santa Clara County

The Santa Clara County Department of Corrections (DOC) DOC website  has information regarding individuals in custody.

The DOC also provides an online look-up service  where you can look up inmate booking information.

The Sheriff’s Office is the custodian of booking photos and should be contacted directly by those wishing to obtain these images.

Factors Considered by the Judge in Making Order to Record/Broadcast (Rule 1.150)

  • List of factors: [click + to expand]
    • Importance of maintaining public trust and confidence in the judicial system
    • Importance of promoting public access to the judicial system
    • Parties' support of or opposition to the request
    • Nature of the case
    • Privacy rights of all participants in the proceeding, including witnesses, jurors, and victims
    • Effect on any minor who is a party, prospective witness, victim, or other participant in the proceeding
    • Effect on the parties' ability to select a fair and unbiased jury
    • Effect on any ongoing law enforcement activity in the case
    • Effect on any unresolved identification issues
    • Effect on any subsequent proceedings in the case
    • Effect of coverage on the willingness of witnesses to cooperate, including the risk that coverage will engender threats to the health or safety of any witness
    • Effect on excluded witnesses who would have access to the televised testimony of prior witnesses
    • Scope of the coverage and whether partial coverage might unfairly influence or distract the jury
    • Difficulty of jury selection if a mistrial is declared
    • Security and dignity of the court
    • Undue administrative or financial burden to the court or participants
    • Interference with neighboring courtrooms
    • Maintaining orderly conduct of the proceeding
    • Any other factor the judge deems relevant

Prohibited Coverage (Rule 1.150)

Approved MC500/510 orders do not permit photographing, recording, or broadcasting of certain people and events - see below.

  • Prohibited: [click + to expand]
    • The jury or the spectators
    • Jury selection
    •  A conference between an attorney and a client, witness or aide
    • A conference between attorneys
    • A conference between counsel and the judge at the bench ("sidebars")
    • A proceeding closed to the public
    • A proceeding held in chambers

Media Personnel And Equipment (Rule 1.150)

NOTE: These requirements apply unless the judge orders otherwise. Refer to the order for additional requirements.

  • Requirements: [click + to expand]
    • No more than one television camera
    • No more than one still photographer
    • No more than one microphone operator and no obtrusive microphones or wiring
    • No operator entry or exit or other distraction when the court is in session
    • No moving equipment when the court is in session
    • No distracting sounds or lights
    • No visible signal light or device that shows when equipment is operating
    • No disruption of proceedings, nor public expense, to install, operate, or remove modifications to existing sound and lighting systems
    • No media agency insignia or marking on equipment or clothing [at discretion of the Court; generally, Santa Clara County Superior Court does not object to insignia or marking].

Sanctions for Violating Order (Rule 1.150)

Any violation of this order or Rule 1.150 is an unlawful interference with the proceedings of the court. The violation may result in an order terminating media coverage, a citation for contempt of court, or an order imposing monetary or other sanctions.

© 2015 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara