Lawyers weigh in on cameras in the courtroom
With video and still cameras soon expected in suburban courtrooms, lawyers and judges from across the area weighed with their thoughts.
• "I don't think cameras will help or hurt my clients in any way. The facts affect my clients, not cameras. It's fantastic for the general public, and I think it's long overdue. From a political point of view, it will help the public determine which judges ought to be retained or ought not to be retained. They'll get to see their demeanor, the way they behave on the bench, and how they make decisions. Otherwise, no one ever sees what they really do except guys like me, and (the media) too." — D.J. Tegeler, Geneva defense lawyer
• "I think the attorneys and the witnesses are going to play to the cameras. It could even affect how judges and prosecutors perform. When I watch TV where cameras are in court, I can see the difference in how they're handling themselves." — Glen Ellyn defense attorney Brian Telander, a former Cook County prosecutor and DuPage County judge.
• "One of the bigger issues we're going to face is the definition of the media. Anymore, a guy who blogs from his living room considers himself part of the media." — Circuit Judge Timothy McCann of the 16th Judicial Circuit in DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties
• "Initially, the issue is that people are more self-conscious on camera. The concern is, does it lead to showboating? Hopefully once the game starts, people forget about it and get into what they have to do. The other thing you have to look at is, having the camera in the courtroom just might make people think they'd better be more dignified. Being watched holds all parties more responsible." — Naperville defense attorney Paul DeLuca, a former prosecutor in Cook and DuPage counties.
• "Right now, the least is known about the judicial system of any of the three branches of government. If we're going to elect judges, why can't we have cameras to show what the judges do and familiarize the public with the people they're voting for?" — Steve Helle, lawyer and professor emeritus at the University of Chicago
• "I am confident that through the diligence of our chief circuit judges and our trial judges, along with the professionalism of the news media, that it may become a standard practice in our state." — Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride
• "One of the fears has been, could the press somehow use it to pressure a judge to make a result on a case? I can't imagine that actually being a legitimate concern. The judges I know take their jobs seriously and do things right. One of the surprises when people watch a trial will be how slow-moving it is. It's not like TV where there is high drama every two minutes. It's a long, laborious process." — David Taylor, law professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb
• "I certainly would never begrudge the public's right to know, and certainly people live in a digital world, and that's how they get their information these days. People should have an understanding of what real life is like and what can happen in a courtroom. It's not always what you expect." — DuPage County Circuit Judge John Kinsella
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