From Illinois Public Radio - News Local/State -

Illinois Supreme Court to Expand Cameras in Courtrooms

On Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court will enter orders to allow cameras in both the first judicial circuit in the southern part of the state and the 18th circuit, which is outside of Chicago.  

The announcement was made this afternoon by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, who was in St. Louis to accept the “Illinoisan of the Year” award from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.

Kilbride is the driving force behind a pilot program aimed at increasing accessibility to the legal system and expects more courts to allow cameras in the future.

“When the judges see how this evolves and develops in the circuits around the state it’s going to take off, exponentially, and really be a wonderful project,” Kilbride said.

The move means that seven judicial circuits covering 23 counties will now allow cameras in courtrooms.

Killbride also told broadcasters that the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is hard at work making it easier for litigants to represent themselves.

“Not just in a conceptual way, but in a real way, trying to come up with forms that self-represented litigants can use that written in plain, simple English,” Kilbride said.  “As I told the folks on the committee, there’s no reason to use 'utilized' when you may use...'use.' And that’s something that you may want to use too, keep it simple, as they say.”

Killbride said another committee is working to bridge the gap between the court system and residents of Illinois who do not speak English as their first language.