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Illinois Supreme Court makes courtroom cameras policy permanent

Declaring a four-year pilot program a success, the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday announced a permanent policy allowing media cameras into courtrooms around the state.

The Supreme Court launched the experimental pilot program in January 2012. Since then, it said 15 judicial circuits have been approved for courtroom cameras, and members of the media have made more than 450 requests.

“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 Rita B. Garman said in a statement. “We are pleased with the success of the pilot project and with the great cooperation we have received from the media.”

The Supreme Court also established a standard form for judicial circuits to submit if interested in allowing cameras into courtrooms.

In Cook County, cameras have been allowed in several high-profile cases. They include: the ongoing proceedings against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with murder in the death of Laquan McDonald; the trial of Detective Dante Servin, who was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Rekia Boyd; and the trial of Bryant Brewer, who was convicted of shooting and killing Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg.