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Cameras OK’d for courtrooms in Kendall, DeKalb

Updated: February 26, 2013 6:31AM

The use of cameras in the courtroom by the new media has been OK’d for Kendall and DeKalb counties.

The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday announced its approval of cameras in courtrooms in the new 23rd Circuit, which included Kendall and DeKalb, and in Lake County in the 19th Circuit.

The Supreme Court noted that Chief Judge Timothy McCann of the 23rd Circuit already brings experience to the cameras project. McCann was chairman of the Courtroom Media Committee of the 16th Circuit, which was composed of state’s attorneys and public defenders from Kane, DeKalb and Kendall counties. Kendall and DeKalb recently split off from the 16th Circuit, to form the new 23rd Circuit.

“Before the split of the 16th Judicial Circuit... we held meetings with many stakeholders of the courts,” McCann said. “I chaired the committee and assisted the committee in developing suggested rules and procedures for the implementation of the program in our counties.

“We also received input from the public at hearings. I believe that committee experience will enable the 23rd Circuit to implement the pilot program efficiently and quickly.”

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon has said he expects to have cameras operating in Kane courtrooms sometime this year.

The Supreme Court order requires that a judge presiding over a proceeding in which cameras or audio are allowed must file a report with the chief judge of the circuit, the chief justice and the Supreme Court justice in the district in which the circuit is located.

The cameras in the courtroom project marks its first year in Illinois this month. In January 2012, the 14th Judicial Circuit in northwestern Illinois was the first to be approved for cameras.

Last fall, in a Naperville case involving murder charges against a babysitter, cameras were allowed to record court proceedings in DuPage County for the first time.

Over the past year, 25 counties in nine judicial circuits across Illinois have participated in the pilot cameras program.

“By giving the public a closer look at the workings of our court system, I remain confident that citizens will learn more about how their courts work and the critical roles that judges and the courts have in our society,” Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride said.

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