The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

September 26, 2013

Make pilot project permanent

Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, a Rock Island Democrat, will yield control of the Illinois Supreme Court next month to a new chief justice, Rita Garman, a Danville Republican.

One of Kilbride’s initiatives during the past 3 years — allowing news cameras and microphones in certain courtrooms on a trial basis — appears to be in good hands.

We are thankful for that.

After the latest group of counties was accepted last week for the Extended Media Coverage trial program, Garman voiced her support.

Garman, who will mark her 40th anniversary in the judiciary in January, appears to be fully on board with Kilbride’s initiative, which was announced in January 2012.

The number of counties participating in the pilot project has now increased to 35, a number that includes Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and Carroll counties.

But Illinois has 102 counties, meaning that courtrooms in 67 counties still do not allow access to news cameras and microphones.

Frankly, we had hoped that cameras in the courtroom would become a permanent fixture statewide before Kilbride left his 3-year term as chief justice next month.

However, Garman’s commitment to cameras in the courtroom appears sincere.

In addition, Kilbride still has 7 years left in his term to further promote his initiative, so the chances that it will stall are minimal.

Based on Sauk Valley Media’s experience with cameras in the courtroom, the process works well.

We salute outgoing Chief Justice Kilbride for his groundbreaking initiative, and we encourage incoming Chief Justice Garman to carry it through to a successful conclusion.

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