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Skakel Trial Rules

The Judicial Branch first wants to thank the news media for their cooperation throughout jury selection in State of Connecticut vs. Michael Skakel.

With many more news media organizations expected on a daily basis when evidence begins, the Judicial Branch wants to reiterate the rules that have been put into place for the Skakel trial. Your continued and anticipated cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Copies of these rules will be distributed on Tuesday, May 7, as reporters/correspondents pick up their ID tags. Also on May 7, Judicial Branch representatives will meet at 1:30 p.m. with any members of the media who may wish to discuss any issues pertaining to media coverage of the trial. The meeting will be held in Courtroom C of the Norwalk Courthouse.

The rules in place are as follows:

1) Representatives from every credentialed media organization MUST wear their orange identifying tag while on court property. Media representatives will be allowed to take the tag home at the end of the day but must have the tag the next day to obtain the reserved seat in the press section of the courtroom. Representatives also may leave the tag with a Judicial Branch media liaison at the end of the day; the tag will be provided on the next court day to any authorized member of that credentialed media organization. The orange tags will be distributed to credentialed news organizations on May 7; the white tags used during jury selection will not be accepted.

2) The press section is for credentialed media, and seating remains on a first-come, first-serve basis. Credentialed reporters must sit in the press section rather than the public section, to ensure that the seating plan is properly implemented.

3) Seats in the public section are available first to members of the public. Non-credentialed reporters may sit in the public section of the courtroom, if there are spaces after the public is seated.

4) No talking is to occur in the courtroom while court is in session. In addition, interviews may not be conducted in the courtroom.

5) No recording devices are allowed in the courtroom or courthouse -- this includes any recording devices on laptop computers.

6) Laptop computers are allowed into the courtroom and may be used while court is in session, but they must be battery-driven and may not be plugged into courtroom outlets.

7) Cell phones and beepers will be allowed into the courthouse and courtroom as long as they are muted while in the facility.

8) No food or beverages are allowed in the courthouse.

9) Interviews by ALL media -- print and electronic -- may be conducted ONLY IN THE MEDIA PEN, which is behind the courthouse. No interviews may be conducted on the steps, at the bottom of the steps, or on the sides of the building. This is a critical element of maintaining order on court property and avoiding unsafe traffic conditions.

10) Photographers and camera operators must take pictures/shoot video from the media pen and remain behind the barricades.

11) All space in the media pen belongs collectively to the media. No news organization can lay claim to specific space in the pen. For example, individual tents may be used, but that doesn't mean a news organization then controls that area. If no live shoots are under way and other reporters, correspondents, camera operators, or photographers want to use that space, then they are entitled to do so.

12) Media organizations whose satellite trucks are brought into the courthouse parking lot during non-designated hours, without permission, will lose their credentials to park in the lot. Credentialed satellite trucks that have met all of the requirements to park in the courthouse lot will be allowed to the lot between 7 and 8 a.m. on days when the trial is in session. Any truck that leaves the lot during the day will not be allowed back onto the property that day. In addition, trucks may not leave the lot between 4 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., when employees may be leaving. Satellite truck credentials will be distributed Monday, May 6, and Tuesday, May 7, and must be visibly displayed. (NOTE: Credentialed trucks will be allowed into the lot on May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.)

13) Employees of all credentialed media organizations using the media pen should have identification readily available.

14) The pool arrangement for the front of the building remains in effect.

15) Each media organization is responsible for ensuring that all of its employees involved in covering the trial know these rules. The Judicial Branch reserves the right to revoke a media organization's credentials in the event of a violation.

16) The Judicial Branch reserves the right to modify these rules due to unforeseen circumstances.

Please direct any questions to Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, Communications Manager, at (860) 757-2270.


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