Opening America's Courts
ICAP works to fight against court secrecy and break down barriers that impede the public’s understanding of how America’s criminal justice system works. Through our Open Courts Initiative, we represent people seeking to challenge policies that hinder their ability to document and report on the activities of prosecutors, police, and other criminal-justice officials. The goal of this work is to arm journalists, researchers, advocates, and community organizations with the tools they need to contribute meaningfully to public discourse on criminal justice issues.
ICAP successfully represented plaintiffs seeking to force compliance with a Maryland law that guarantees public access to court audio recordings. In addition, ICAP represents plaintiffs in Maryland challenging a ban on broadcasting criminal court proceedings and clients in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, affirmatively challenging a ban on recording bail hearing proceedings and defending against criminal charges of recording in court.
- 5/28/20 – Sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Fifth Judicial District, in light of temporary courthouse closures, to provide the public with remote access to its criminal proceedings.
- 1/30/20 – Filed a brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court arguing for magistrate judges to state their reasoning for bail decisions on the record and to preserve a verbatim account of every preliminary arraignment.
- 10/21/19 – Filed a brief in the First Circuit arguing on the proper framework for assessing the scope of First Amendment protection for the act of recording a government official’s public conduct
- 9/5/19 – Sent a letter to the Texas Court of Appeals on behalf of journalists denied the opportunity to broadcast oral argument in an appeal of a controversial five-year prison sentence for unlawful voting.
- 8/27/19 – Sent a letter to the Maryland Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to encourage an amendment to the Maryland Rules bolstering the right to access and inspect judicial records
- 5/2/19 – Sent letters to the Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of independent journalists and nonprofit organizations asserting their right to broadcast publicly available court recordings
- 4/9/19 – Sent a letter to the Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of an independent journalist asserting her right to broadcast publicly available court recordings