Although it is common for courtrooms in the United States to limit the use of cameras and recording equipment during criminal proceedings, the Maryland statute is peculiar in that it applies even to audio recordings produced by the courts and available for public use.
The ACLU of Massachusetts says that the law, which was originally written to protect citizens from government surveillance, is now used to punish people for exercising their First Amendment right to gather information about public officials.
According to the plaintiff’s complaint, Daniel Robbins was filming outside a police department in May 2018, having noticed that a police vehicle had been parked in a “no parking” spot. Citing suspicious behavior, the officers detained Robbins, seized his cell phone, recording equipment, and memory cards.
The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have all held that the First Amendment protects people who record police officers performing their official duties in public.
A Philadelphia-based nonprofit and an independent journalist have sued officials in Pennsylvania’s First Judicial District for banning audio recording in bail hearings, a restriction they say violates the First Amendment. […]