Illinois makes cameras-in-court policy permanent

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Timothy Jones reacts after being found guilty of murder in the death of Jacqueline Reynolds in February 2015. Jones's trial was the first in Cook County to allow cameras in the courtroom for the entire trial.

CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court has deemed a four-year pilot program allowing media coverage at certain trials a success and is making the policy permanent.

A spokeswoman for the state’s highest court said Monday that the rollout of the program has gone so well that justices decided to end the experimental phase.

But Bethany Krajelis says that nine of the 24 judicial districts in Illinois that haven’t applied for the cameras-in-court program won’t be forced to join. And strict criteria will remain for when and under what conditions cameras and audio are allowed.

Some observers worried that cameras could be disruptive and undermine defendants’ rights. But Krajelis says there have been no such “red flags.”

She says cameras have been permitted in dozens of cases across the state, including in Chicago.

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