Cameras might be in courts by year's end

Cameras might be in courts by year's end

SPRINGFIELD — Cameras and other recording devices could be in courtrooms in the 6th Judicial Circuit by the end of the year.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday approved allowing the devices for the 6th Circuit, which comprises Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.

That means 35 counties in 13 judicial circuits are now participating in a pilot program that allows the devices in courtrooms.

Sixth Circuit Chief Judge Dan Flannell would like to have everything in place by December, but he said there's still plenty of work to do.

"I'm going to get together with the committee that I had appointed," Flannell said. "We'll finalize language on the administrative order, talk about media coordinator selection process."

Champaign County Presiding Judge Tom Difanis chairs that committee. He said in a news release that judges in the 6th Circuit voted overwhelmingly to approve the new plan, and that there is little concern among judges about implementation.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman, who will become the next chief justice, said in a news release that she was pleased the 6th Circuit is joining the program.

"Judge Flannell and the members of the Extended Media Committee have worked diligently in researching and discussing how the judges in the circuit will balance the judge's primary role in the administration of justice with the media's role to inform the public," Garman said in the release.

Flannell said that the exact starting date likely will differ in each county depending on how quickly the individual courts set up their programs.

WDWS reporter Tim Ditman contributed to this report.