Winnebago-Boone courts next for cameras and microphones

Apr 28, 2012

The 17th Judicial Circuit, comprising Winnebago and Boone Counties in northern Illinois, will be the next courts to permit news media cameras and recording devices during trials.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride announced the action Saturday during an address to the Illinois News Broadcasters Association convention in Macomb. He said the order will be issued today.

The 17th Circuit joins three other judicial circuits already approved for the pilot program announced in January.

Approval was first granted to the 14th Judicial Circuit, which includes Whiteside, Mercer and Rock Island counties. The first significant case to be tried under the pilot program was the Nicholas Sheley murder trial in the 14th Circuit in February.

The Supreme Court's order permitting "Extended Media Coverage in the Circuit Courts of Illinois on an Experimental Basis" limits the types of cases where cameras and recorders can be present and permits judges on individual cases to rule on specific requests.

An article in Chicago Lawyer Magazine provided a description of the pilot program.

On a related matter, Kilbride noted that reporters "tweeting" from that trial seemed to be successful.

"I do know that (Ninth Circuit) Judge Stewart allowed tweeting in  the first round of the Nicholas Sheley trial," Kilbride told the gathering, "and it worked pretty well."