A group of journalists and community organizations has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Maryland law that prohibits people from broadcasting recordings of criminal trial proceedings. The lawsuit is the latest in an ongoing effort to oppose § 1-201 of Maryland’s Code of Criminal Procedure. That provision makes it illegal to broadcast a recording of any criminal “trial, hearing, motion, or argument” held in a trial court, including recordings that were lawfully obtained from court itself.
The plaintiffs argue that § 1-201 violates the First Amendment by barring them from disseminating accurate depictions of public court proceedings. Two of the plaintiffs, journalists Brandon Soderberg and Baynard Woods, hope to use trial recordings in future reporting and in an upcoming documentary about a now-defunct Baltimore police unit whose members were indicted on federal racketeering charges in 2017. Soderberg and Woods lawfully purchased trial recordings directly from the courthouse but are hesitant to use them in their film because of § 1‑201’s broadcasting ban.
BPD is required to revise its policies to align with the consent decree. The First-Year Monitoring Plan calls for public comments on these proposed policies. In combination with the Department of Justice and the Monitoring Team, BPD will consider these public comments before the policies are finalized.
DOJ and the city combined members from Venable and 21st Century teams into a single, combined team. Click for the list of names and responsibilities of each member.
The first community forum will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at the Baltimore City Community College (Fine Arts Auditorium, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue Baltimore, MD 21215), from 6-8PM.
The second community forum will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at Morgan State University (Student Center, 2nd floor, Ballroom C, 1700 East Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21251), from 6-8PM.