Illinois has just joined a number of state courts — including Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri — that allow news cameras in their courtrooms. According to a February 23, 2016 article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, titled Supreme Court gives final OK to cameras, Illinois’ highest court has decided that the Court’s four-year old experimental program is now “permanent.”
In a press release issued on Monday, the Court announced the “permanent Policy for Extended Media Coverage (EMC) in the Circuit Courts of Illinois.” Citing the success of the pilot program and “the Court’s continued goal of promoting greater transparency, accountability, and accessibility to the court system,” the Court will now permit each circuit court to implement EMC.
‘At every level of the judicial system, we do the people’s work, and the people have an interest in observing how the judicial process functions,’ Chief Justice Garman said. ‘We are pleased with the success of the pilot project and with the great cooperation we have received from the media. It is time to make EMC more widely available.’
We have advocated for cameras in the courtroom in a number of previous posts, believing that transparency of the judicial system benefits legal consumers and the judicial system alike. We applaud the Illinois Supreme Court, and other courts, for letting the cameras in. Judge Judy and Divorce Court are entertaining, but being able to watch actual court proceedings demystifies the process – and, more importantly, holds it accountable as well.