Media Contact

The public information officer coordinates community relations, media relations, and external and internal communications.

John O'Sullivan
Communications Director
St. Louis County Courts / 21st Judicial Circuit


Cameras and Electronic Devices in the Courtroom

The use of cameras, cell phones and any other electronic devices in the courtroom to make photographs, video or audio recordings is strictly prohibited unless expressly approved by the judge in advance.

News media may request a live video camera in the courtroom, subject to the terms of Missouri Supreme Court Operating Rule 16, which can be found here. If your news organization would like to request a camera in the courtroom, please contact the court at least five days before the requested hearing or trial. If approved, your request will be fulfilled by the Media Coordinator for the 21st Circuit, Bill McCormac at KMOV Channel 4, at 314-621-4444.



1.  By order of March 21, 2018, this Court adopted new subdivisions 16.02, 16.03, and 16.04 of Court Operating Rule 16 to be effective July 1, 2018.  The order is included in the April 10, 2018, advance sheets of the South Western Reporter, Third, Missouri Cases series, beginning at Page Ct.R-1.  The Court hereby corrects the order so that as corrected, effective July 1, 2018, subdivisions 16.02(a) and (b); subdivisions 16.03(c), (d), and (e); and subdivisions 16.04(a), (f), (g), and (h) of Court Operating Rule 16 shall read as follows:

(a) Conditions of Media Coverage. Blanket prohibition by local rule of all media coverage is not permitted. Media coverage of a judicial proceeding will be permitted on a case-by-case basis if expressly authorized by the judge and under the following conditions:

(b) Prohibitions on Media Coverage. Media coverage is prohibited of any:

(1) Judicial proceeding Missouri law requires to be closed, including certain juvenile, adoption, domestic relations, or child custody proceedings, except a judge may permit media coverage of a juvenile who is being prosecuted as an adult in a criminal proceeding.



(c) Any media making a request to a media coordinator for media coverage of a judicial proceeding shall include the name of the person seeking such coverage; the affiliated entity, if any; and the media equipment to be used. The media coordinator shall provide this information to the judge, as to all media granted access to media coverage under this operating rule, as soon as practicable before a judicial proceeding is scheduled to begin.

(d) Objections. Upon the objection of a party or a participant or on a judge's own motion, a judge may prohibit any or all media coverage of a participant in a judicial proceeding or any or all of the participant's testimony.

(e) Media Hearing. A judge may hold a hearing concerning applications or plans for media coverage. During the hearing, the judge may hear any objections to media coverage and set terms and conditions of media coverage.



(a) Equipment Limitations. All media equipment to be used in courtrooms for media coverage must be unobtrusive in both size and appearance, without distracting sound or light, and of sufficient technical quality to prevent interference with the judicial proceeding. A judge may limit the number of media personnel and amount of media equipment in a courtroom covering a judicial proceeding and may require other media personnel to pool coverage in accordance with this operating rule and as a judge deems appropriate under particular circumstances.
(1) Still Photography. Still photographers shall be permitted pursuant to this operating rule, but more than one photographer may not participate at one time unless the judge approves in advance. Media coordinators should determine whether still cameras with shutters that cannot be silenced should be enclosed in a sound-absorbing device.
(4) Advance Approval. It shall be the duty of the media to advise the media coordinator of the media equipment sought to be used for media coverage and to demonstrate to the media coordinator and judge reasonably in advance of the proceeding that the equipment meets the requirements of this operating rule. Failure to obtain advance approval for equipment may preclude its use in the proceeding. All media and media equipment should be in place and operational in accordance with this operating rule at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time of commencement of the proceeding.

(f) Personal Audio Devices. Notwithstanding other provisions of this operating rule, the judge may permit the media to use inconspicuous personal recording devices to make audio recordings solely as personal notes of the proceeding. Media proposing to use a personal recording device must make timely application to the media coordinator and obtain advance permission from the judge. Any such audio recording may not be used for any other purpose, and if the device used is capable of making other types of recordings or producing other content, no such recordings may be made without express permission of the judge.

(g) Use of Devices. No person may use any device capable of media coverage in a courtroom or court clerk's office unless specifically authorized under the provisions of this operating rule, under the provisions of a local court rule, or by a judge in a judicial proceeding. A judge may authorize media to use electronic devices solely for textual note-taking and writing if they are configured to operate quietly and in such a manner as to avoid undue distractions.

(h) Decorum. All media personnel shall dress in suitable business attire consistent with that worn by others in the courtroom, such as lawyers, court reporters, bailiffs, clerks; shall not assume any body position inappropriate for spectators; and otherwise shall maintain proper courtroom decorum at all times while covering a judicial proceeding.

2.  It is ordered that notice of this order be published in the Journal of The Missouri Bar.

3.  It is ordered that this order be published in the South Western Reporter.

4.  The state courts administrator shall provide copies of this order to the chief judge and clerk of every district of the court of appeals, every presiding circuit court judge, every circuit clerk, and such other persons as the administrator deems appropriate.

Copies of Court Documents

Public computer terminals are available for use by the press in the St. Louis County Records Department located on the Street Level and the 1st Floor of the courthouse building at 105 S. Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105. These terminals can be used during normal courthouse hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to search CaseNet for public records that do not contain confidential material. Paternity, juvenile, abuse and some criminal cases are confidential.

News media seeking hard copies of public records should request them from the clerk on duty in the Records Department on the Street Level. Copies are 30 cents per page; for certified copies there is an additional charge of $1.50 per request. By state law, probate documents are $1 per copy. Copy requests will be filled in the order in which they are received. Every effort will be made to accommodate reporters working on deadline.

Screens shots of public documents on CaseNet will be permitted.