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Courtroom cameras meeting set for Feb. 1

WOODSTOCK – A public meeting about the possibility of allowing media cameras in McHenry County courtrooms has been set for 2 p.m. Feb. 1 at the McHenry County Government Center.

Illinois has allowed news cameras in the Supreme Court and appellate courts since 1983 but was one of 14 states where cameras in trial courtrooms were banned or so restricted that they hardly were used.

About a year ago, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride authorized “extended media coverage” in circuit courts on an experimental basis.

That coverage, which includes no more than two still cameras and two video cameras, has limitations. For example, juvenile, adoption and child custody cases are off-limits. So are jurors.

Anyone who objects to camera coverage also can file a written objection. 

Illinois Supreme Court spokesman Joseph Tybor will attend the meeting to answer questions and address concerns. Tom Jackway, deputy court administrator for the 17th Judicial Circuit that serves Boone and Winnebago counties, also will attend. Cameras have been used in his circuit.

The meeting will be in the jury assembly area on the third floor of the government center, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.

Questions or further information about the meeting may be directed to Trial Court Administrator Dan Wallis at jdwallis@co.mchenry.il.us or by calling 815-334-4351.

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