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State Supreme Court Grants Cameras For 6th Circuit

TV cameras will soon be allowed in trial courts in Champaign and neighboring counties. 

The State Supreme Court Friday announced the six counties in Illinois’ Sixth Judicial Circuit have been approved for inclusion in the pilot program. 

The high court’s vote means cameras and microphones has now been granted for 35 Illinois counties in 13 judicial circuits.

Chief Circuit Judge Dan Flannell of Moultrie County admits surprise with how quickly the high court approved it, about six weeks after the application was submitted.  

But Flannell said there’s still more to be done before the program can start, and he’ll work with members of an extended media committee chaired by Champaign County presiding judge Tom Difanis.

“We are not going to commence until we are certain we are ready," he said.  "We’ve got some administrative orders that have to be tweaked a little bit before we can even get started.  We’ve got to get media coordinators in place in the various counties.  It’s going to be while yet before we hit the ground running.”

Media coordinators are reporters chosen, most often one per county, to handle other media, and their coverage of a trial.  Flannell said judges still can refuse the use of cameras for a particular trial. 

In addition to Champaign County, the Sixth Judicial Circuit includes DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie, and Piatt Counties.