Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot Program Comes to Illinois

By: Megan Dwyer
By: Megan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A new order handed down by the Illinois Supreme Court could turn local TV into Court TV when it comes to the most interesting cases.

Chief Judge Joe McGraw says he hasn't made a decision yet for Boone and Winnebago Counties, but local attorneys say they're all for extending media coverage of court cases. Judges in the 15th Circuit, which includes Stephenson, Joe Daviess, Ogle, Lee and Carroll Counties, say they do plan to have cameras.

Until today Illinois was one of only 14states that doesn’t allow cameras in courtrooms. The new program is just an experiment.

Circuit Courts must choose to allow cameras and tape recorders. If the Illinois Supreme Court okays it, then established media outlets can apply. Bloggers and Internet journalists are still not allowed to electronically record court proceedings. Only two cameras can be inside a courtroom at a time. Footage of jurors and certain types of cases, like divorce, will not be allowed.

The new policy doesn't mention the use of cell phones, but the intent is that only professional equipment should be used. So you can't snap a photo of someone on your cell phone or hit the record button while you're in court.

Do you think cameras should be allowed in local courtrooms?

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