Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright on Wednesday signed Chief Justice Directive (CJD) 23-02, requiring judicial officers to livestream certain proceedings in criminal cases subject to staffing and technological limitations.
After receiving more than 100 public comments on a draft version of the CJD, the Supreme Court’s Virtual Proceedings Committee adopted some clarifying revisions. The CJD seeks to balance consistent transparency in criminal proceedings with a trial court’s discretion to determine when the public’s interest in observing proceedings remotely is outweighed by the interests of the parties and witnesses. The CJD will go into effect on May 15, 2023.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that throughout the pandemic, the public has come to appreciate and expect the ability to remotely observe proceedings in criminal cases,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “This CJD will create as much consistency as we believe possible while allowing judicial officers enough flexibility to decide when circumstances in a specific case, or even in a specific hearing, do not favor live streaming.”
Under the CJD, proceedings would be live streamed only if a courtroom’s staffing and technological capabilities can accommodate it. Disruptive viewers could be expelled or muted by the court without warning and be subject to contempt proceedings; and audio or video recording, screen shots, or photos of any livestreamed court proceedings is prohibited without express permission from the court, also subject to contempt proceedings.
The Virtual Proceedings Committee will continue to meet regularly and recommend any modifications of the CJD while continuing its work on a related draft CJD regarding remote participation in court proceedings.