Cameras in Court FAQ

  • The Southern District of Iowa is a pilot court in the federal judiciary’s Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot Project. Only the federal district courts participating in the pilot study are permitted to record and provide videos of court proceedings to the public. Pilot districts must follow guidelines adopted by the Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the Judicial Conference. The pilot is limited to civil proceedings in which the parties have consented to recording. No proceedings may be recorded without the approval of the presiding judge, and parties must consent to the recording of each proceeding in a case. A presiding judge can choose to stop a recording if it is necessary, for example, to protect the rights of the parties and witnesses or to preserve the dignity of the court, or may choose not to post the video for public view. Additional information can be found in the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management Guidelines for the Cameras Pilot Project in the District Courts (“Guidelines”; found at and the Court’s Administrative Order regarding the Project can be found here.

  • Fourteen federal district courts, including this District Court, are taking part in the federal Judiciary’s Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot Project. This project allows judges to video record proceedings in civil cases and to make the recordings available to viewers on line.  Judges will record only civil proceedings and only if parties give consent. The court will operate the recording equipment.

  • Pilot courts were authorized to make recordings as of July 18, 2011. This District has had equipment and procedures in place to record since August 29, 2011.  The Pilot Project ends after three years.

  • Civil case proceedings held in open court and presided over by a district judge who has elected to participate in the Pilot Project are eligible for recording, subject to any limitations set forth in the Guidelines, the Court’s Administrative Order re: the Cameras Pilot Project, and decisions of the presiding judge. Before a recording of a proceeding can take place, the parties involved in the case must have given consent. Even with party consent, the presiding judge has discretion over whether a proceeding, or any part of a proceeding, will be recorded.  The Pilot Project does not allow video recording of civil commitment or criminal matters.

  • Jurors, prospective jurors, and alternate jurors cannot be recorded in the courtroom or any other part of the courthouse.

  • If a witness prefers not to be recorded, the party can bring this fact to the attention of the judge.  A party that is inclined to consent to recording has an obligation to discuss recording with non-party witnesses.

  • The Guidelines limit the pilot project to district judges. The participating judges from this court are: James E. Gritzner, Robert W. Pratt, John A. Jarvey, Charles R. Wolle, and Ronald E. Longstaff.

  • Go here to locate the list of cases with upcoming proceedings that will be recorded. This information is on our website at under Cameras Pilot Project.

  • If you wish to request that a certain proceeding be recorded, you can use the “REQUEST FOR VIDEO RECORDING” Form B, found here. Instructions for filing are on the form. You may request a hard copy of the form be mailed to you by calling the Clerk’s Office at (515) 284-6248.

  • No, proceedings will not be simulcast.  This allows the judge time to decide if posting of the recording is inappropriate for any reason.