— NM Cops and Courts Beat Guide

You, as a journalist (and not as a member of the general public) have an almost unqualified right to take pictures/video (pooling may be required for more than two still photographers and more than one videographer) in district court.

The Supreme Court rules have an entire section exclusively on this issue. Here’s the web version of it (on this guide) and here’s the PDF version.

The short of it is, the judge may require 24 hours notice be given to the judge’s clerk prior to the start of a trial. Presumably for other court proceedings, no advanced notice need be given.

The rules specifically state:

B.   Notice.  The broadcasters, photographers and recorders shall notify the clerk of the particular court at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of coverage of their desire to cover the trial. Each trial judge may, in the judge’s discretion, lengthen or shorten the time for advance notice for coverage of a particular trial. “

As you can read, it does not appear journalists must give notice of their intent to cover anything other than the trials themselves. This does not include certain types of cases. The 24-hour notice requirement is totally dependent on the judge.

Audio recording is 100 percent acceptable and radio/videographers may only put two mics beyond the bar.

The judge may prevent you from taking pictures (or video) of:  “victims of sex crimes and their families, police informants, undercover agents, relocated witnesses and juveniles.” (23-107 A-2)

You are not allowed to take pictures or jurors or take pictures during the jury selection process. However, the jury selection process is open, like all other court proceedings.

Either the defense of prosecution may object to cameras in the courtroom up to 15 days before the start of the trial. The rules do not preclude your media organization from filing an affidavit against the removal of cameras. The judge must make his reasoning clear and on the record.

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