Noel Chandler and Robert Granger v. State of Florida Docket No. 79-1260 449 U.S. 560, 66 L.Ed.2d 740, 101 S.Ct. 802 ( 1981)
Argued November 12, 1980. Decided January 26, 1981.
Several years after Estes v. Texas ( 1965), the American Bar Association reaffirmed in 1972 its ban on television in the courtroom when it replaced Canon 35 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics -- adopted in 1937 -- with Canon 3A(7) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Then when an ABA committee on Fair-Trial-Free Press in 1978 proposed revising the new canon to allow television in the courtroom, the ABA House of Delegates (officially voting February 12, 1979), rejected the proposal.
Another group looked differently, however, upon the presence of cameras in the courtroom. The Court notes:
In 1978, based upon its own study of the matter, the Conference of State Chief Justices, by a vote of 44 to 1, approved a resolution to allow the highest court of each state to promulgate standards and guidelines regulating radio, television, and other photographic coverage of court proceedings. (564)
So, although the Florida legislature adopted the substance of Canon 3A(7) in 1975, the Florida Supreme Court in 1976 "announced an experimental program for televising one civil and one criminal trial" (564) with tile consent of all relevant parties. When such consent could not be obtained, that court "established a new one-year pilot program during which the electronic media were permitted to cover all judicial proceedings in Florida . . . subject to detailed standards with respect to technology and the conduct of operators" (564, 565). After the program concluded, the Florida Supreme Court "promulgated a revised Canon 3A(7)" (566) allowing carefully regulated televising of criminal trials.
And so the first case to reach the Court originated in Florida where television cameras were allowed to record a criminal trial.