As of today’s date, the answer is “no”, according to Court Administrator of the Circuit Court, Drew Peterson‘s upcoming trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio will not be televised live from inside the courtroom.
Until recently, Illinois has been one of the few states that does not allow media coverage of trials from inside the courtroom. However, news cameras have been allowed in Illinois Supreme Court and the appellate court since 1983.
In January of this year, Illinois began a pilot program which allows Circuit Courts to request permission from the Illinois Supreme Court to allow television, audio and still camera media coverage in trial courtrooms. Since that time 13 counties have applied and been granted permission to take part in the program.
Last month, Chief Judge Gerald Kinney of Will County (the Twelfth Judicial Circuit) told the press that they were “considering” applying to take part but that logistically it would be difficult to clear the way for the cameras in time for the Peterson murder trial which will now begin in less than four weeks.
Judge Kinney’s caution seems to be extremely conservative since protocols for media coverage are in place all over the country and could easily be copied in Illinois.
We’ve seen rumors that CNN petitioned the court for permission to cover the trial, and the Chicago Sun-Times has run an editorial chiding the courts for being overly cautious about rolling out the cameras, but at this point in time it looks as if reporters will need to rely on their hand-written notes and the sketches of courtroom artists.
Despite the lack of cameras in the courtroom there will be plenty of national and local media coverage of the trial. InSession has been advertising their upcoming coverage, even sending Vinnie Politan to the Peterson home in Bolingbrook to whet the appetite of trial junkies.
If we hear of any change in the status of this situation we will certainly let you know. This is one trial we would really like to see.