Lake County moves toward allowing cameras in court
Chief Judge Fred Foreman said the 19t Judicial Circuit is going to apply to the Supreme Court to allow cameras in the court room. | File photo
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:15PM
Cameras may be allowed in Lake County court rooms, Chief Judge Fred Foreman said Tuesday.
Circuit judges of the 19th judicial county answered “maybe” after the Illinois State Supreme Court invited all judicial circuits to participate in a pilot program allowing news cameras inside courtrooms in January of this year.
DuPage County recently was accepted into the pilot program allowing cameras in the court room, according to Joseph Tybor, press secretary for the Supreme Court of Illinois.
“The inclusion of DuPage County is significant because it’s really the first collar county that includes the Chicago media,” Tybor said. “Kane County intends to apply (and) with Lake County (to apply), it brings in another collar county.”
Lake County has not yet submitted its application. Tybor is meeting with Lake County circuit judges at the end of this month to discuss the pilot program.
Cook County is expected to apply to the pilot program by the end of the year, Tybor said. So far, news cameras are allowed in 23 counties in seven judicial circuits across the state.
Lake County is in the process of putting together media camera guidelines, Foreman said. They are using Winnebago County’s guidelines as a model.
He said the circuit judges are considering designating two court rooms for allowing cameras.
“We anticipate that we’ll be giving permission,” Foreman said.
It was left up to each circuit court to decide if they wanted to participate in the pilot program. Each circuit court has to apply to the program and get approval from the Illinois Supreme Court to implement the program before cameras can be used inside court rooms.
“The presence of cameras in trial court do not interfere with an orderly trial. So far, there haven’t been any issues reported,” Tybor said.
Discretion is given to the trial judge whether or not to allow cameras or recording devices into the courtroom under the Illinois policy. It also states that media must request coverage at least 14 days in advance of court proceedings.
Coverage of juvenile, divorce, adoption, child custody and evidence suppression is not allowed. Sexual abuse victim testimony would be allowed only if the victim consents to the coverage.
Winnebago’s extended media coverage policy dictates that news media outlets have to select a single representative to act on behalf of all news organizations to coordinate with a court media liaison. Parties, including witnesses, can object to the media’s coverage, according to Winnebago’s policy.