Illinois Supreme Court
6:12 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Cameras in the Courtroom: One Year Later

DeKalb County added to state pilot program

Three more Illinois counties have been added to the state's pilot program allowing cameras in trial courtrooms. The Illinois Supreme Court announced the additions of DeKalb, Lake and Kendall. The order is effective immediately. 25 counties in nine judicial districts have participated.

Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride started the pilot project for cameras in Illinois courtrooms
Credit Illinois Supreme Court

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Some states regularly allow cameras in their courtrooms

There has been a tweak to the policy added on the anniversary of the pilot project.

Read Illinois' Policy

Amendment- Jury Admonishment and Instruction

The judge shall give the following admonishment to the jury at the commencement of any criminal or civil trial with an approved request for extended media coverage:

In this case. I have approved a request to allow the news media to film and photograph the proceedings. This is permitted by the Illinois Supreme Court and is subject to numerous restrictions contained in the Policy for Extended Media Coverage in the Circuit Courts of Illinois.

The policy in place regarding cameras in the courtroom is very strict and the court closely monitors every policy provision. In general, the policy permits the news media to film and photograph the courtroom setting, the participants in the trial, and any persons who might be in the audience.
The policy does not permit the news media to film or photograph any of you as jurors or the jury panel as a whole in the courtroom and outside the courtroom.

The presence of cameras does not make this case more important than any other. All trials are equally important to the court and the involved parties. You should not draw any inferences or conclusions from the fact that cameras are present at this particular trial.

The news media is generally able to choose which portion or portion(s) of the trial they wish to attend. Therefore. their attendance may be periodic from day-to-day. Also, for legal reasons, the news media may not be permitted to film and photograph certain witnesses. You are not to concern yourself with why certain witnesses are filmed and photographed and others are not.

Whether a particular witness is filmed or photographed is not any indication as to the value of, or weight to be given to, that witness's testimony.

You should ignore the presence of any cameras. If you find at any time that you are distracted or unable to concentrate because of the cameras, please notify me immediately .

 Jury Instruction. The judge shall give the following instruction to the jury when news media was present at any portion of a criminal or civil trial: In this case, the news media was permitted to film and photograph the proceedings pursuant to the Illinois Supreme Court Policy for Extended
Media Coverage in the Circuit Courts of Illinois.

In your deliberation, you should not draw any inferences or conclusions from the fact that cameras were present at this particular trial. Nor should you concern yourself with why certain witnesses were filmed and photographed and others were not. Whether a particular witness was filmed or photographed is not any indication as to the value of, or weight to be given to, that witness's testimony.