The Illinois Supreme Court will approve another judicial circuit to participate in the “cameras in the courtroom” experiment, which is allowing news media to use cameras and microphones in most trial court proceedings. The 17th circuit, comprising Boone and Winnebago counties, has been approved – making it the fourth circuit to participate since the high court announced the pilot program in January.
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Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride says he’s always believed in allowing media to film in trial courts, and there are some misconceptions about the process that haven’t panned out in Illinois. "People who want to complain talk about the O.J. Simpson trial, and I watched many parts of that trial. I’m not sure what all the specifics are about that trial that are so problematic,” Kilbride explains. “It can be managed when it’s handled and approached the right way.” The Supreme Court’s pilot program doesn’t allow media coverage of any cases involving juveniles, adoptions, divorces and other sensitive issues, or any case under Illinois law required to be private. Fourteen counties are now participating, including Madison.