WILKES-BARRE — New court rules taking effect next month will explicitly ban all courtroom recording and photography, as well as require all visitors to turn off their electronic devices unless approved by a presiding judge.
Under rules in an order President Judge Richard M. Hughes III signed Thursday, taking pictures of witnesses, jurors, police officers or judges connected to pending proceedings will also be banned inside the courthouse.
Violators will find themselves in contempt of court and face fines of up to $1,000.
Hughes said Monday the purpose of the order is to establish uniform rules that will help maintain the “decorum of the courtroom” as well as to prevent attempts at intimidation.
“If you’ve got a situation where you’ve got a witness testifying and someone has the ability to pull out a cellphone and take a picture of the witness who’s testifying against the defendant, and then post that, it could lead to a dangerous situation,” Hughes said.
The rules, which were modeled after Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts guidelines, were reviewed by the county’s judges prior to Hughes entering the…