State High Court to Allow Cameras in Courtrooms

Illinois is just one of 14 states with a camera ban

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    The Illinois Supreme Court is expected to announce Tuesday an experimental ruling to allow cameras in Illinois courtrooms.

    For the last 194 years, sketch artists or other means of creativity have been the only way to visually depict what's transpired during proceedings.

    "The idea behind this is simple. We need to have the courts be more open. By having the public keeping an eye on what is going on in the courtroom, it can act as a check in the balance of power,”  Illinois Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride told Illinois Statehouse News in an exclusive interview.

    The new policy includes some restrictions:

    • Jurors and potential jurors may not be photographed.
    • Cameras and recording devices will not be allowed in juvenile, divorce, adoption, child custody and evidence suppression cases.
    • No more than two television cameras and no more than two still photographers will be allowed in a courtroom at one time.
    • Victims of violent felonies, police informants and relocated witnesses may request that the judge prohibit them from being photographed.

    Illinois currently is just one of 14 states where cameras in trial courtrooms are either not allowed or not used. Another is Ohio, where a television station has opted to use puppets to depict a corruption trial.