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Evans Hopes Cook County Courts Can Get Cameras Soon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
CBS Chicago
by Bernie Tafoya

With a high-profile triple murder trial underway in DuPage County with a camera in the courtroom, Cook County’s chief judge was left wondering when Chicago would be able to follow suit within its own court system.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Chief Judge Timothy Evans had hoped to have cameras allowed in Cook County courtrooms by late 2012 – after the Illinois Supreme Court began allowing them in Illinois courtrooms on a trial basis last January – but was still waiting for permission from the high court as of this week.

Evans was among the first chief judges to ask the Illinois Supreme Court for permission to allow cameras inside courtrooms, but the high court has been taking a wait-and-see approach with the state’s largest county while trying out cameras in smaller counties, including nearby DuPage, Kankakee and DeKalb counties.

“I just think the Supreme Court – out of a modicum of caution – is taking it step-by-step,” Evans said.

It’s still in question when Cook County courtrooms will be allowed to get cameras, and Evans seemed frustrated with the delay, pointing out several other states – including nearby Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin – allow cameras in trial courts.

“States all around us already have it,” he said. “Why in the world would we say, ‘Yeah, it’s great in Missouri, and it’s great in Michigan, it’s great in Wisconsin, it’s great in other states around us, but it can’t possibly occur in Illinois.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”

 Evans said the people have a right to see what goes on in their court system. He said he will be meeting this week to discuss many matters, including cameras in the courts, with Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, and that he might have information “very soon” on the request for cameras in Cook County courts.



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