Is it illegal to take a photograph of a government employee (this person works in the court house), without her knowledge? Is it illegal to take a photograph of a police officer (a bailiff) who works inside a government building?
I plan take a photograph of a court clerk that made defamatory remarks about me to court security. By the way, the alleged incident she describes was beyond the courts securities jurisdiction (at least, that's what it sounds like to me). I plan to put her photo on the rippoffreport.com for her wrong doings.
I assume it is perfectly legal, but if I'm wrong, please correct me. I do want to do the right thing.
It is not legal.
The security policy of most courthouses in California (both state and federal court) precludes the use of electronic recording devices inside the courthouse, except in designated media areas. Use of cameras, camera phones and recording devices inside courtrooms is prohibited.
The California Rules of Court, Rule 1.150, also prohibit the photography or filming of proceedings held in chambers; proceedings closed to the public; jury selection; jurors or spectators; or conferences between an attorney and a client, witness, or aide; between attorneys; or between counsel and the judge at the bench. Any violation of this rule or an order made under this rule is an unlawful interference with the proceedings of the court and may be the basis for a citation for contempt of court, or an order imposing monetary or other sanctions as provided by law.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
How illegal is it? During an eight week trial an Assistant Attorney General brought a camera one day to the courtroom to photograph other counsel in what he thought would be a social snapshot. The Assistant Attorney General was arrested.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
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