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Lawsuit challenges Maryland ban on broadcasting court cases

May 28, 2019

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Several journalists and community organizers in Baltimore have sued to challenge a Maryland law’s ban on broadcasting digital recordings of criminal court proceedings.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday asks the court to declare that the law violates the plaintiffs’ First Amendment free speech rights.

Audio recordings of criminal trial proceedings are publicly available in Maryland, but a state law enacted in 1981 banned the broadcasting of any court proceedings for criminal trials.

Anyone who violates the law can be held in contempt of court. The ban doesn’t apply to civil cases or criminal appeals.

Maryland Judiciary spokeswoman Terri Charles says she can’t comment on pending litigation.

Plaintiffs include journalists Brandon Soderberg and Baynard Woods, who are working on a book about the Baltimore Police Department’s scandal-plagued Gun Trace Task Force.

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