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Utah lawyer asks to broadcast divorce court proceedings, but the answer appears to be no

Posted Jun 17, 2014 5:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Poll: Do you think court proceedings should be broadcast?

This poll ended on Mon, July 28, 2014 - 12:10:48.


  • Yes, the public has a right to see all proceedings.
    512 votes (35.29%)
  • No, cameras don't belong in the courtroom.
    507 votes (34.94%)
  • Only if all parties consent to the filming.
    311 votes (21.43%)
  • Only criminal court proceedings.
    121 votes (8.34%)
Total Votes: 1451

A Salt Lake City lawyer hopes to broadcast divorce court proceedings on his YouTube channel, but he has had little luck persuading judges to agree.

Lawyer Eric Johnson came up with the idea after Utah opened its courts to electronic media coverage last year, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The state allowed TV cameras in courtrooms, as well as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Judges who objected to the electronic devices would have to justify banning them, according to previous coverage by the newspaper.

Johnson has asked to tape divorce proceedings more than a dozen times. All but one of his requests have been “systematically denied,” the Salt Lake Tribune says.

Now the Utah Judicial Council is proposing a rule change that would require anyone who wants to record a family law proceeding to justify why it should be allowed. Johnson said he’s furious about the proposal to shift the justification burden from judges to applicants.

His aim, Johnson said, is to help the public understand the divorce process. He told the newspaper he tried to address court’s objections by agreeing to blur faces and alter voices when privacy is a concern.

"I’m not trying to be a National Enquirer-kind of guy, I just want the public to see how the courts work," he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Updated June 23 to add poll.


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