Illinois courtrooms will soon allow reporters to use their cameras inside
UNION COUNTY, Ill. - Soon Illinois courtrooms will allow members of the media to bring their cameras in with them.
The Illinois Supreme Court's decision will allow courthouses change their 'no camera' policy, at the discretion of each judge.
The court feels it is the public's right to know what happens inside a court of law.
In Kentucky it is very common to see reporters and photographers with their cameras out during court proceedings, but that has never been the case in Illinois.
Alexander County Judge Mark Clarke says reporters have always been allowed in America's courtrooms, but in Illinois, they are not allowed to tote their camera.
"But the Supreme Court's position is that a picture is worth a thousand words," said Clarke.
So they ruled that the law change.
Paul Newton is the media coordinator for the initiative to get cameras in the courtrooms.
As a journalist himself, he's passionate about relaying public information to the masses.
He does not think the average person knows exactly what goes on in a court of law.
"It's not a spectator sport for them but this is that something that when there is a case of interest, they'll be able to see more of how the process works," said Newton.
In order for the new law to be enacted, committees have to perform "walk-throughs" in each courthouse in their particular circuit.
"We'll just look through the courtroom, where photographers will stand, how the audio will work, how the video feed will work," said Newton.
Judge Clarke says in this day and age, cameras belong in the courtroom.
"A cornerstone to our system of justice is that the public has a right to know what's going on in a court preceding," said Clarke.
He says this way you will have the opportunity to exercise your right to know what goes on behind closed doors.
An official decision on to what extent cameras can be used in the courtroom should be made in the next few weeks.
But no matter what the law states in the end, a judge can overrule it and ban camera use during a particular hearing.