Judges Approve Cameras for Courts In Sixth Judicial Circuit
By Jeff Bossert, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Cameras could be allowed in six circuit courts in eastern Illinois within the next several weeks.
The Champaign News-Gazette reports judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court approved the cameras during a meeting last week.
Chief Circuit Judge Dan Flannell, a judge in Moultrie County, said he submitted an application to the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday.
“Initially, very few of us were in favor of this from the get go,” he said. “There was a lot of trepidation among several of judges, a strong majority of them wanted to wait and see how it worked in some of the other places that were initially into the pilot program. Up at Rock Island, which had the advantage of being adjacent to Iowa, which has had cameras in the courtrooms for many years and had a lot of attorney that were familiar with it.”
The state's high court has the final say on whether the circuit will be included in the pilot program that was approved about 18 months ago.
Since then, more than two dozen counties have allowed courtroom cameras. The Sixth Circuit includes Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.
Flannell said he has heard good feedback about the use of cameras in districts that have already allowed them, something he felt was inevitable.
“The committee came to the conclusion that number 1 - this is coming," he said. "It’s inevitable. It’s highly unlikely the Supreme Court is going to back away from the program. And it’s our feeling that ultimately, we don’t know how quickly, but ultimately, it will just simply be a procedure adopted statewide by the court, and the pilot program aspect would be elimated.”
A spokesman for the Supreme Court says it will take a "couple weeks'' before cameras can enter the courtrooms.