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Arkansas Judge Sentences Reporter to Jail for Recording Hearing

Nkiruka Omeronye was found in contempt of court during capital murder proceedings last month

An Arkansas television reporter began a three-day jail sentence for contempt of court on Wednesday after admitting to recording proceedings in a hearing in a capital murder case last month.

Nkiruka Omeronye’s sentence came after Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren found her in contempt on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

According to the AP, Omeronye maintains she recorded the proceedings to take notes and has worked at stations in other markets where reporters recorded hearings for that purpose without incident.

“On behalf of KNWA/FOX24, we regret the incident regarding reporter, Nkiruka Omeronye, who goes by Nkiruka Azuka on air. Nikiruka has offered a sincere apology to the judge, to her colleagues, and to the station. As we do with all our journalists, we have counseled her on obeying all courtroom rules, as well as Arkansas Judicial Guidelines,” Lisa Kelsey vice president and general manager of KNWA and Fox24, told TheWrap.

The Arkansas Supreme Court bans recordings without a judge’s consent.

Other local reporters have weighed in on the situation, with some believing her punishment is too harsh.

“Don’t believe jail time is necessary here. Ban her from the courtroom, but jail?” asked Charisse Gibson of New Orleans’ WWL-TV on Twitter.

“I can’t believe this is real!” replied Aliah Williamson, who reports for Ohio’s WDTN.

Local reporters aren’t immune from getting in trouble, of course.

Arizona TV reporter Jonathan Lowe was arrested for pooping in the front yard of a Goodyear, Arizona, home in 2016 and just last month, Angel Cardenas, a correspondent for KMAX-TV in Sacramento, California, was fired for jumping on a car and declaring he wanted to “live on the wild side” during a broadcast from the Sacramento International Auto Show.