From AP - News Headlines -

Lawyers Group Supports Cameras in Illinois Courts

The Illinois State Bar Association supports the Illinois Supreme Court's plan to test the use of cameras in state courtrooms, the head of the attorneys group said.

"The Illinois State Bar Association fully supports the pilot program and access to the courtrooms in general," John Locallo, the ISBA's president, told The Quincy Herald-Whig (http://bit.ly/y0DCZk ). "We are very excited about it and it's a great opportunity to bring to the public access to the judicial system."

Locallo, a Chicago attorney, said he has had informal talks with some of his association's 33,000 members and support for the test program has been strong.

He said part of what makes Illinois' test program attractive is that it allows judges to control what happens in their courtrooms.

"I think what is different about the Illinois program, compared to programs nationwide, is that the way it is set up, the judge only has to show good cause to restrict the media," Locallo said. "In Illinois, it allows the judge to decide if the media can be in the courtroom, and his final decision cannot be overturned. Since the judge is in charge of controlling the courtroom anyway, who better to be in charge of the media and the litigants?"

The Illinois Supreme Court in January announced it would start allowing cameras and recorders in state courts on an experimental basis with the aim of eventually pulling Illinois for good out of the group of 14 states that ban extensive media access at trials. The court later chose the 14th Judicial Circuit to begin testing the policy because it is on the border with Iowa, which already allows cameras in courtrooms.

Locallo made his comments Thursday in Quincy, where he addressed cameras in courts and other issues during a meeting with the Adams County Bar Association.

Categories: Government, Politics