Decatur – Today Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rita B. Garman, announced that news cameras are permitted in Illinois courtrooms.
The decision comes after a four year pilot project which allowed media cameras in certain courtrooms on an experimental basis.
Macon County State’s Attorney, Jay Scott, says he’s not a big fan of the Extended Media Coverage or (EMC).
“I really wasn’t in favor of it when they came out with the idea of cameras in the courtroom,” says Scott. “After doing the one trial that’s been televised in Macon County it’s like we didn’t even know the cameras were there.”
Scott says that he thinks the cameras could create an uncomfortable atmosphere for witnesses.
“I think is some cases you’re going to have people not wanting to come to court to testify,” says Scott. “I think in those situations when you’re dealing with very dangerous criminals that are on trial it could have an intimidating effect on witnesses.”
According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the continued goal of promoting transparency, accountability and accessibility to the court system is why cameras were implemented in courtrooms.
Only 15 judicial circuits in the state of Illinois have been approved to use cameras in courtrooms. Those circuits that have not joined will not be forced to do so.
Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Court in Illinois, Dan Flannell, says that Macon County has been a part of the pilot project and will now be grandfathered in with the new policy to continue to have EMC in the courtrooms.