A bill to provide for media coverage of Federal court proceedings.

Introduced in Senate
Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2017

This bill authorizes the presiding judge of a U.S. appellate court or U.S.
district court to permit the photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting,
or televising to the public of court proceedings over which that judge presides,
except when it would constitute a violation of the due process rights of any

Upon the request of any witness in a trial proceeding other than a party, a
district court must order the face and voice of the witness to be disguised or
otherwise obscured to render the witness unrecognizable to the broadcast
audience of the trial proceeding. The presiding judge in a trial proceeding must
inform each witness who is not a party of the right to make such request. 

A presiding judge may obscure the face and voice of an individual if good cause
is shown that photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting, or televising
such features would threaten the individual's safety, the court's security, the
integrity of future or ongoing law enforcement operations, or the interest of

The bill prohibits a presiding judge from permitting the photographing,
electronic recording, broadcasting, or televising of any juror in a trial
proceeding, or of the jury selection process. 

The bill terminates a district court's authority under this bill three years
after its enactment.

The Judicial Conference of the United States must promulgate mandatory
guidelines that a presiding judge must follow for obscuring certain vulnerable

The bill prohibits any audio pickup or broadcast of conferences which occur in a
court proceeding between attorneys and their clients, co-counsel of a client,
adverse counsel, or counsel and the presiding judge, if the conferences are not
part of the official record of the proceedings.



  • Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. (Sponsor introductory remarks on measure: CR S1845)

    Mar 15th, 2017
  • Introduced in Senate

    Mar 15th, 2017