New Law Makes it Illegal to Record Pa. Court Proceedings; First Case Charged in Lancaster Incident

A new statute recently in effect makes it illegal to record, photograph or broadcast a court proceeding – or happenings within a time or location proximity of a courtroom.

A Lancaster woman is believed to be the first charged locally with the second-degree misdemeanor due to her alleged actions at a Dec. 27 preliminary hearing in the city.

The statute, Unlawful Use of an Audio or Video Device in Court, makes it illegal for anyone to capture, record, transmit or broadcast a photograph, video, motion picture or audio of a proceeding or person within a judicial facility or in an area adjacent to that facility.

That would include witnesses, defendants, lawyers or other parties involved in such proceedings.

Per law, a judicial facility means a courtroom, hearing room, judge’s chambers or any other room for trials, hearings, or the interviewing of witnesses.

In the recent case, 27-year-old Monae Woods is charged with recording at the district court at 123 Locust St.

Woods attended, in the gallery area, a preliminary hearing over an attempted homicide charge.

Lancaster city police became aware Woods had recorded from the gallery area after finding – on Woods’ social-media page - two video clips from the location, filmed at the time of the hearing.

A detective recognized the location and the vantage point from which the recording was made as where Woods was seated.

The detective confirmed with presiding District Judge Jodie Richardson that she did not give anyone permission to record.

Signs are posted at that district court, and other court facilities across the county, advising that recordings are against the law.

Woods is presumed innocent. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 1.

Read the new statute in its entirety here: http://bit.ly/2RR3Uu4

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright