Supreme Court Expanding Program For Cameras In Courtroom

CHICAGO (CBS) — Televised trials are coming to two more counties not far from Chicago.

Since the Illinois Supreme Court said in January that it would experiment with live television and radio coverage in trial courts, it has approved rules in 11 counties.

Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride said that on Monday, the court will give the green light to the Rockford area, Winnebago and Ogle Counties.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Most of the counties in which experiments have been approved are near the borders with Iowa and Wisconsin. Both states have allowed television and radio coverage of trial courts for several decades.

Cook County was one of the first to apply, but Kilbride said the application, made by Chief Judge Timothy Evans, is on hold, because the court wants to see how it is working in smaller circuits. He did not say how long it would be until an experiment would be approved locally.

Kilbride, who is from the Quad Cities area on the Mississippi River, made it a priority to change the rules that had forbidden broadcast coverage in the courtroom for decades. He said he remains confident that all of Illinois will soon have similar experiments underway, and that they will prove to be successful.

“The fact that it’s happening in a variety of different circuits, with different kinds of population centers, in different kinds of media markets, once that happens with its track record, that’s going to convince the other judges…that it’s worth the experiment,” he said.

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