January 25, 2021

Dear Director Duff and Judge Fleissig:

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S Capitol has left an indelible stain on American democracy. We cannot move forward as a nation until those responsible are held accountable.

As you know, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun indicting many of the alleged perpetrators in jurisdictions throughout the country. From the Central District of California to the Middle District of Florida, U.S. attorneys have brought charges for unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon, intentionally impeding government business, witness tampering and conspiracy civil disorder, among others.

We, the undersigned organizations, believe the American people should be able to see the wheels of justice in motion and in real time. That’s why, via memo to all U.S. District Court Chief Judges, we ask that you encourage the courts involved in this litigation to:

  1. Livestream all proceedings related to the Jan. 6 events on their respective courts’ websites;
  2. Permit media to take the livestream feeds and post or embed them on their own websites, as C-SPAN, for example, has done for U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments from May 2020 through the present; and
  3. Permit media to use pictures and sound from these proceedings in subsequent reporting

We also request that you waive all PACER fees incurred when case filings related to the Jan. 6 attack are accessed on CM/ECF.

Though we appreciate the recent creation of a live audio pilot program comprising a dozen U.S. District Courts, we believe that recent events necessitate a more comprehensive temporary change in broadcast policy in order to show the American people that justice is being done. Creating a spreadsheet of proceedings akin to USDOJ’s would also be welcome.

If you have questions about setup and logistics, please contact Gabe Roth at Gabe@FixTheCourt.com.

Sincerely,
American Society of Magazine Editors
Demand Progress Education Fund
Fix the Court
Free Law Project
Government Accountability Project
Government Information Watch
National Press Foundation
Open The Government
Project On Government Oversight
R Street Institute
Radio Television Digital News Association
Society of Professional Journalists
Tully Center for Free Speech