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Rule Change Allows Electronics In Federal Court

Journalists can now bring cell phones and computers into federal buildings in Vermont.

The new rule allows them to carry the devices past security checkpoints but still bans them from being used in court during hearings and trials. Video and still cameras are still prohibited.

The Burlington Free Press had asked the federal courts in Vermont to allow the use of the news-gathering devices in court for breaking news reports. Smartphones, recorders, and notebook and tablet computers are allowed in state courtrooms in Vermont.

The Free Press reports that the chief court clerk and federal judges in Vermont did a two-month study and then issued a proposed rule in February.

The revised rule, which started this week, covers U.S. District Court in Burlington, Rutland and Brattleboro.