Public Policy Regarding Court Security Video

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for the safety and security of all persons entering the courthouse. This responsibility requires the Sheriff's Department to respond to all incidents involving safety and security. The Sheriff’s Department may use video monitoring systems placed in courthouse public hallways, waiting areas, and some courtrooms as well as lockups and the clerk's office to assist in the security of courthouses. Video monitoring systems and images captured by video monitoring systems are court property.

Not all video is recorded, and, when recorded, is retained for only a limited period of time. The recordings are not an official record of court proceedings, and may not be used as such. Government Code section § 69957; NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV) v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178, 1212 (observing that the public’s right of access does not extend beyond adjudicative proceedings and filed documents). Public disclosure of such tapes presents a security risk, as it will inappropriately disclose significant aspects of the Sheriff’s security plan. California Rules of Court, Rule 10.500(f)(6). The video monitoring systems and recordings from such systems are under the control of Court Executive Officer until they are routinely deleted.

No public disclosure of any recordings shall be made except by authority of the Court Executive Officer or his/her designee. Request for a recording must be submitted to the Court using the Court’s Request for Court Security Video form, and must:

  1. Describe as narrowly as possible, the time, date, and location of the video sought;
  2. The specific reasons disclosure is warranted;
  3. Why there are no other alternatives and
  4. Proposals for minimizing the potential impact on overriding interests, including maintaining the court's security, litigants' rights to a fair trial, protection of minor victims and witnesses, privacy interests of jurors, protection of witnesses from embarrassment or intimidation, protection of attorney-client privilege, national security, and the maintenance of courtroom dignity and decorum. NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV) v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178.