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updated: 11/12/2012 4:55 PM

Kane County court camera plan moving forward

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  • Chief Judge Judith Brawka

    Chief Judge Judith Brawka

  • Appellate Judge Robert Spence

    Appellate Judge Robert Spence


A committee has finalized a plan to allow cameras in Kane County courtrooms, but a change in chief judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit has slightly delayed sending the document to the Illinois Supreme Court.

New 16th Circuit Chief Judge Judith Brawka hopes to review the document by week's end.

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year to allow cameras in courtrooms on an experimental, circuit-by-circuit basis.

Former 16th Circuit Chief Judge Robert Spence wanted to review the plan and send it to the Illinois Supreme Court before his appointment to the 2nd District Appellate Court took effect last Monday, but he ran out of time.

"I was hoping to get to that before I left," said Spence, who earlier this year authorized a committee of lawyers, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to study the issue and draw up rules.

The 16 pages of rules and application forms is the product of several months of work by the committee.

The rules spell out how media members may petition for expanded coverage -- including video and still cameras -- as well as how litigants will be notified about and how they can object to the cameras. Certain court cases, such as child custody disputes and sexual assault cases are exempt from camera coverage.

"The quality of justice in Illinois is enhanced when citizens have accurate information and understanding of the workings of their system of justice. Education about the legal process furthers respect for the operation of the judicial system," read part of the document's preamble.

Brawka, who was named Nov. 2 as the first woman chief judge in the history of the 16th Judicial Circuit, said Monday that she hopes to review the rules by the end of the week and talk with the committee chairman, Kendall County Judge Timothy McCann.

The 16th Circuit includes Kane, DeKalb and Kendall counties, but next month Kendall and DeKalb will break off to form the new 23rd Judicial Circuit.

Several court circuits, including the 18th Circuit of DuPage County, have received approval from the Supreme Court to allow cameras.

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