Flannell: don't expect cams in courts here soon

Flannell: don't expect cams in courts here soon

We are not going to see cameras and recording equipment in Champaign County courtrooms anytime soon.

Dan Flannell is the Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which includes Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.

Flannell said a majority of the judges in the circuit are not ready to participate in the state pilot program that began about a year ago.

However, Flannell said he has set up a committee that will oversee that program in other parts of the state to see how it is working in those areas.  Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis is the chair of that committee, which will report on a quarterly basis to Flannell.

Flannell said he is not opposed to the pilot program but said he will not force it on judges.

Flannell also said some of the concerns from judges are the cost of setting up courtrooms for media coverage and that recording equipment could be disruptive to court proceedings.

He said there would probably be more interest from the media in criminal cases in Champaign and Macon counties, rather than the smaller rural counties in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Since the pilot project began in January 2012, 28 counties in the state have allowed cameras in the courtroom.