Maryland to end ban on broadcasting court audio recordings starting Jan. 1
A ban on broadcasting court audio recordings in Maryland will end Jan. 1, after the state’s highest court approved new rules regarding the release of court recordings.
The Maryland Supreme Court approved the change during a meeting Tuesday.
The Daily Record reports that starting next year, the public will be able to obtain copies of audio recordings and disseminate or broadcast them, though the recordings will first be subject to a redaction process to shield sensitive information.
Retired Judge Alan Wilner, who chairs Maryland’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, said the committee aimed to provide public access to audio recordings while also safeguarding vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime.
When the change takes effect, a judge would be required to find there is “clear and convincing evidence” that there is a compelling reason for a redaction. That could include reasons such as protecting a vulnerable witness or a defendant’s right to a fair trial, and that “no substantial harm” will be caused by the redaction.
The redaction would only apply to copies of the audio recording that are given out to the public. Members of the public could still listen to the complete recording upon request by coming to court in person, but they would not be able to keep or broadcast the unredacted version.
The redactions should be “as narrow as practicable in scope and duration to effectuate the interest sought to be protected, according to the proposal approved by the court.
The Maryland court changed the rule, which was known as the “broadcast ban,” after a federal court last year ruled that it was unconstitutional to prohibit the broadcast of legally obtained recordings of court hearings.