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Justices Seek Input on Social Media in IA Courts

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Chief Justice Mark Cady says he is open to the idea of allowing journalists to use technology to better report on Iowa's judicial branch.

The Iowa Supreme Court appointed a special committee, roughly one year ago, to review the state's rules for expanded media coverage and see if changes or updates were needed.

The panel is recommending some significant changes, including an expansion of the list of acceptable electronic devices that could be used in a courtroom.

Laptop computers, cell phones, and tablets would be on equal footing with cameras and microphones, which have been allowed in Iowa's courts for years.

The committee also wants to see journalists have the ability to use the new technology to "live-report" during trials.

Chief Justice Cady says he believes the court must keep up with technology.

"We need to be sensitive to the way people are receiving their information and we need to allow that information to get out to the public," says Cady.  "Tweeting is part of our world and our courts need to be part of tweeting."

The committee also wants to ease the restrictions on recording initial court appearances and increase the number of journalists who can be using an electronic device during a trial.

Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through January 6th.

You can read the report from the committee here.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.