It’s not a sure thing but today’s decision to allow cameras in trial courts in Illinois on an experimental basis has the hearts of trial-junkie couch-potatoes thumping.
A press release from the State of Illinois states that “the Supreme Court has approved a policy for a pilot project to allow news cameras and electronic news recording in Illinois trial courtrooms for the first time.”
“This is another step to bring more transparency and more accountability to the Illinois court system,” said Chief Justice Kilbride. “The provisions of this new policy keep discretion in the chief circuit judge and the trial judge to assure that a fair and impartial trial is not compromised, yet affords a closer look at the workings of our court system to the public through the eyes of the electronic news media and news photographers…
…Until now, Illinois has been one of only 14 states where cameras in trial courtrooms were either dis-allowed or allowed on such a restrictive basis that they were hardly utilized.
The policy is effective immediately and invites the Circuit Courts in the state to apply for approval from the Supreme Court to take part in the experimental program. So, if we are to see media coverage of Drew Peterson’s upcoming trial for murder, Will County will need to apply to participate.
No more than two video cameras and two still cameras will be allowed so media pooling is encouraged.
In the case of a media member promising coverage of a proceeding from beginning to end, that member of the media shall receive priority consideration for placing its equipment in the courtroom. If the media cannot agree among themselves on the pooling arrangements, extended media coverage will be disallowed.
In other words, news media will need to play nice and share or it’s no go.
And heads up, Joel Brodksy. No more naps in the courtroom!