The month of April brought a lot of new changes for the courts. Clay A. Alger, a Utah lawyer, looks at the new laws and what they mean for the legal system.
The most notable change is that cameras and electronic devices are allowed in Utah courtrooms. Utah is joining 37 other states that allow broadcast coverage of trial proceedings, and is now one of the most open states for allowing electronic coverage of the courts. Utah’s new rule says that court proceedings are open unless a judge can cite, in writing, a good reason to keep them closed.
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops can be used in the courtroom, but cannot be used to take photos or record video. Only one camera operator will be allowed to broadcast, and jurors will not be allowed to see it.
While many a lawyer in Utah probably thinks the open courtroom policy may help educate the public on what goes on in the courtrooms, the new rule also makes Utah lawyers question whether the courtroom will change into more entertainment than legal processes, as seen in the O.J. Simpson case.
Another change to the courts also brings Utah further into the digital age. Mandatory electronic filing began April 1, requiring that all pleadings and other papers filed by attorneys in civil and domestic cases be filed electronically. Mandatory filing begins July 1 of this year for pleadings and other papers filed by attorneys in probate cases. Those people representing themselves are not required to file electronically.
Contact a Utah lawyer at the law firm of Shumway Van & Hansen if you need a consultation about a legal matter. We offer free initial consultations and can often schedule one within 24 hours of your call. Please call (801) 478-8080 or stop by our offices which are located at 8 East Broadway #550, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.