Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Question of the day
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Question of the day

Monday, Feb 27, 2012

* The setup

A judge in northwestern Illinois said Friday he will allow camera coverage at the second trial of a man accused of killing eight people in two states.

In doing so, Judge Jeffery O’Connor rejected arguments from both prosecutors and the defense that media scrutiny would make it impossible to pick an impartial jury in a third trial for Nicholas Sheley. […]

O’Connor’s decision to allow cameras whenever it the trial starts means it will, after all, be the first big test of the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision to experiment with cameras in state courts. The high court said that if all goes well, it would eventually pull Illinois from of the group of 14 states that still ban extensive media access in courts.

The Whiteside County judge told attorneys that Sheley’s case has already garnered so much attention since his alleged killing spree in Illinois and Missouri over several days in June 2008, so any level of media attention now wouldn’t make it any harder to pick a jury.

* The Question: Do you agree with cameras in courtrooms even if prosecution and defense attorneys object? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Honestly - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    It is appropriate for any public proceeding.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    Yes. Trials are open to the public, just like city council and school board meetings (and you’ll be just as bored at all three). There’s no reason not expand access with cameras.

    The argument against cameras was that prosecutors and defense attorneys would play to the cameras. Well, they already play to the juries and even judges with some of the most overwrought bad acting anywhere (is there a course for bad acting in law school?).

    As far as an impartial jury, that dog doesn’t hunt in small counties, anway. Everyone’s aware of the serial killer who was on the loose.

  3. - Very Anon - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Disagree. I’m not wild about cameras in the courtrooms even if the parties are enthusiastic about the idea. The bases of my various objections can be summed up in just two initials: O.J.

    Judges already mug shamelessly for court watchers — and more understandably for school groups. A TV camera is simply not the electronic equivalent of a person slipping quietly into the back row of the courtroom to listen to the testimony for awhile. Can it become so? Perhaps.

    But, even if it is possible, we will have to live through the transition first.

    I realize the Supreme Court has spoken and we must go along — but I don’t believe we are required to muster phony enthusiasm for this, are we?

  4. - Spring - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:36 am:

    I think it will be even more difficult to bring in witnesses and victims from high violence areas. Stop snitching and all.

  5. - Elo Kiddies - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    “The argument against cameras was that prosecutors and defense attorneys would play to the cameras.”

    I think the concern is that witnesses, victims, and others called to court will feel intimidated by cameras. If you’ve never been “on-camera” it does change how you conduct yourself.

    It may be appropriate to have cameras in the courtroom, but this murder trial may not be the best test case.

  6. - Colossus - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:55 am:

    It’s a public proceeding, it should be viewable by the public.

    I’m sensitive to Very Anon’s mention of the transition period - it won’t be fun, but the world moves on. You can’t hide your head in the sand and pretend it’s the 18th century anymore. I think the Tea Party has done an excellent job of raising awareness about how times are changing.

  7. - East Sider - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    I think it may cause some witnesses to become reluctant to testify.

  8. - Dirty Red - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:10 am:

    This could be a great way to show people how trials actually work instead of just leaving them to get it from CSI-like shows.

  9. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    I side with cameras in court under a couple conditions.

    The cameras need to be ubiquitous, like the dome security cameras seen everywhere. Secondly the privacy of the jurors should be respected.

    Public proceedings should always be public. However the cameras should not be allowed to become a player in the proceeding

  10. - fed up - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    I like the idea of televising trials but I to think this will make people more reluntant to get involved.

  11. - Irish - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    What is the purpose? To create another reality show? What good comes from having the camera there? Can you write in and have the judge’s ruling challenged? Can you march outside and protest the elimination of evidence? Other than the people involved who needs to watch this? It is a gimmick to get more people to watch the news. It satisfies the need of bored unchallenged people to vicariously add some excitement to their life without actually having to get up from the couch or the bar stool. It satisfies the same need(?) some seem to have to watch car wrecks. They delight in watching the misfortunes of others because they don’t have the gumption to improve their own lives. They are desensitized by the distance, they can watch but don’t have to get involved. Next thing we will allow close up coverage of people being extracated from serious accidents, or televised autopsies.

    “Today on Court TV we have Judge Samuals, represented by the Morris Agency and wearing an Armani robe.” Really?

  12. - amalia - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    if both object, there is a problem. no cameras. that’s why I voted no if one side objects, maybe still a problem. the details on how the cameras work is important. perhaps one feed?

  13. - Skeeter - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    Agree, with limitation. People seem to forget that there are two rights at issue, and we can’t let one destroy the other. We have a right to free press, but we also have a right to fair trials. If trial publicity or cameras interfere with a fair trial, then we need to figure out the trial can be fair and still allow some media coverage.

    We can’t have a hard and fast rule. The judge needs to weigh the arguments.

    That being said, other than reporting on matters that occur outside the presence of the jury, I’m not clear on any circumstance where simply televising a trial would lead to an unfair result.

  14. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    I agreed. I also agree with Plutocrato3 above. Juries do not have to necessarily be shown via the cameras. I don’t really see the need to hide witnesses though…a reporter sees exactly who walk into a courtroom and sits and listens to what is said. I’ll assume if the witness had anything of ‘news’ worthiness to report, it would be done whether a camera was in the courtroom or not, naming exactly who said what. I suppose some restriction requests could be considered if a particular witness really needed privacy/secret.

  15. - Wensicia - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:29 am:

    If it’s possible the cameras could effect the outcome of the trial, lawyers are right in asking they be kept out of the courtroom in certain trials.

  16. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    The Blago trial might have been the most watched trial out there had cameras been in the courtroom.

  17. - reformer - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:42 am:

    Americans are guaranteed “speedy and PUBLIC trial” under the 6th Amendment to the Constitution.

    It’s time that IL courts catch up to the late 20th century when it comes to cameras.

  18. - mokenavince - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    We are hardly trailblazers in allowing cameras,it’s a lot better sketch artists.

  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    –I can easily see Vito shaking down a local with ‘let’s watch your brother testify in court.’–

    What does that even mean?

  20. - Foxfire - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    I agree that cameras could present problems in selecting a jury; however, trials are open to the public. In addition, the tape can be used to evaluate the actions or behaviors or prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. I say let the cameras role. If there’s a true need to restrict access to the footage, judges can make those decisions on a case-by-case basis.

  21. - Boone Logan Square - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:15 pm:

    I’d like to see jury participation rates and demographics compared for states with regularly televised jury trials and those without. Just wondering if giving the public greater access to real trials attracts or repels citizens in the jury pools.

    (If there is a study that has done this, I’d like to read it.)

  22. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    –I’d like to see jury participation rates and demographics compared for states with regularly televised jury trials and those without.–

    I doubt that there are regularly televised trials, anywhere. Who has the resources or would devote broadcast time for that? You might get clips for local news, that’s about it.

  23. - Cal Skinner - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    Maybe both sides have something to hide that the public ought to be able to have a chance to see.

  24. - Kerfuffle - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    Skeeter is right: “We can’t have a hard and fast rule.” The media will only want to film the most salacious cases. In some cases wide viewing of a trial could impact the eventual outcome. When the judge believes that to be a possible outcome of filming, the judge needs to use his/her best judgment as to the use of cameras. We have a right to know but that right is not exclusive.

  25. - girlawyer - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    Of course defendants are entitled to “public” trials. As opposed to closed,secretive trials. But that is a totally different animal than a trial with cameras. Does anyone seriously think that you can put one unobtrusive camera in a courtroom and accurately document a trial? No way. It will either be done with one, unobtrusive camera with will record a fraction of what happens in the courtroom or a long shot which includes much of the room but from one angle and with little detail or you’ll have highly obtrusive camera operators who will capture all of it but not without hugely impacting what they are recording. And then a 10 second selected soundbite will be shown to the masses on TV.

  26. - Ace Matson - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    No. It’s hard enough now to get witnesses to show up and cooperate, and for trial lawyers not to hot-dog. Politically ambitious lawyers will put on a real show. bad idea, but it will happen.

  27. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 1:26 pm:

    Agree but with possible limitations when children are involved. Note I said children, not minors. I don’t see sheltering teenagers but could see it for younger children. Not sure exactly where I would set the line; some tweens are still kids while others are just as informed as any teenager or adult.

  28. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    I have long opposed cameras in the trial courts because the broadcast media is irresponsible in their coverage of trial proceedings. The crocodile tears that the broadcasters are prohibited from using their tools really means they don’t get to show pix of the most sensationalist aspects of a trial for the purposes of inflaming the viewing audience. When you watch the coverage of any trial by broadcast media, the coverage is much more informative w/ artist renderings where the reporter has to actually explain the proceedings like a print journalist rather than just showing video of a witness crying or being ambushed or something else that is generally legally insignificant, but makes “good TV”. While certainly gavel to gavel coverage has provided public education, but very few members of the public actually watch. The “if it bleeds it leads” theory of news will bleed (pun intended) into trial coverage as well. As a further note, look at the failure to seriously use camera feeds from the appellate/supreme court–”too boring”. Most of trials are also boring, especially the most significant parts. So I dread the dramatic drivel that broadcast media will pick to broadcast.

  29. - And I Approved This Message - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    For years, Court TV (which I don’t think exists anymore) covered high profile cases in states that allowed cameras. I don’t think they ever showed the juries. It might have been one of the conditions for allowing them in. So I don’t think it would have a bearing on jury selection. Witnesses are a different story.

  30. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:03 pm:

    Public ≠ televised. Lots of reasons to be against cameras in the court room, but especially so if both parties object. Good arguments “against” are well outlined above.

    The public and the reporters, their Fourth-Estate representatives, already have free and easy access to trials. That doesn’t mean there’s a “right” to have it televised.

  31. - A modest proposal - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:40 pm:

    If both say no, then what does the judge have in front of him to say yes to?

  32. - A modest proposal - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:42 pm:

    I’m not allowed to have my cell phone on in a court room why should someone else be able to bring a video camera?

  33. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:43 pm:

    –If both say no, then what does the judge have in front of him to say yes to?–

    I think it’s a nameplate on the bench that says “Judge.” A judge doesn’t work for the lawyers, hopefully.

  34. - Tommydanger - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:34 pm:

    Survivors of sexual assaults and victims of domestic violence are understandably reluctant to testify at times. Bringing cameras into the courtroom will only exacerbate their reluctance.

  35. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:56 pm:

    I disagreed in the vote, but the idea of cameras in the courtroom is okay with me-don’t have a problem with open trials (would have loved to seen Blago)-but this doesn’t sound like the best case to start it with. If BOTH prosecution and defense are opposed to it for a trial, then maybe, probably they shouldn’t be allowed in.

  36. - Joltin' Joe - Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 8:04 pm:

    The Illinois Supreme Court’s policy on cameras is formulated to give the trial judge an enormous amount of discretion. If allowing cameras truly puts at risk the guarantees of a fair trial, the trial judge should refuse them. In the Sheley case, the prosecutor objected because he thought cameras in the upcoming trial would interfere with jury selection in a subsequent trial involving charges that Sheley allegedly killed four other persons. The trial judge in this case said seating a jury would be difficult with or without cameras. While disallowing objections from the prosecution and defense, the judge said he would rule later on whether to exclude cameras for the testimony of specific witnesses. The prosecutor said five of his witnesses have voiced their objections. The Illinois policy allows no camera coverage of jury selection, the jury or individual jurors. In sex cases, including sexual abuse cases, it allows cameras of a testifying victim only with the victim’s consent. It excludes cameras at evidence suppression hearings, including preliminary hearings where motions to exclude evidence are heard. The policy also excludes coverage of divorce, juvenile, adoption, child custody and other cases which are closed to the media under Illinois law. It presumes that an objection to cameras by undercover police, informants, relocated witnesses and others is valid. The intial order and policy can be read here, keep scrolling after the order:

  37. - JustaJoe - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 8:35 am:

    In a public process, I think transparency trumps the objections.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* McCann tries to turn the Madigan issue back on Rauner
* Rauner says he'll soon announce "several really exciting" results of his trade mission
* Our sorry state
* It's just a bill
* *** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker, Mendoza respond *** Rauner gets it half right while denying all blame
* ¯_(ツ)_/¯
* Question of the day
* Gun dealer licensing bill may reboot
* PPP: Rodney Davis up by only 3, Hultgren ahead by just 4
* Rate the new Sam McCann campaign video
* Way out of context
* Did Tazewell County and Chicago ignore state law?
* Rauner calls legislators "rascals" ahead of budget talks
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...









* Illinois Senate views marijuana as opioid alter.....
* State-financed workers' comp insurance company .....
* Illinois Governor's race on pace to be most exp.....

* School district sued for sexual abuse by former teacher
* Police suspect Rockford woman killed by ex-boyfriend
* State-financed workers' comp insurance company gets House OK
* US won't step in to stop ex-Lithuanian judge's extradition
* Illinois Senate views marijuana as opioid alternative
* Advocates urge lawmaker curb on Medicaid managed care switch
* Illinois Senate OKs stand-alone bump-stock ban
* Servers allege sexual harassment at Chicago-area restaurant
* Man convicted of killing 5 in 1972 granted parole
* Illinois nurses to complete sexual assault training sooner

* Bill that allows patients to sub opioids for pot clears Senate
* McCann threatens to sue to get Senate staff support
* Bump stock ban passes Illinois Senate
* Statehouse bill would give tax breaks to Illinois construction projects
* AFSCME wants step increases now
* McCann threatens to sue to get staff support
* Bill would give tax breaks to construction projects
* Illinois nurses to complete sexual assault training sooner
* A 48,000 percent return on a painting may be Illinois' best investment
* Schoenburg: Libertarian Kash Jackson wants to protect rights

* WTTW parent picks a new CEO
* The rich are betting on living to 100
* Rauner needs to do more than talk—and veto—on gun violence
* It's a bad time to stop making small cars
* AbbVie must escape the long shadow of Humira's decline

* Illinois Senate OKs stand-alone bump-stock ban
* Dear Abby: Friends want me to date but won’t set me up
* Glen Ellyn man gets 23 years in prison for robbing 7-Eleven store
* Bears draft, Day 2: DE Harold Landry, C James Daniels among best available
* White Sox’ Lucas Giolito gets revenge on ex-Cub Jorge Soler in first win of year
* Man charged with sexually assaulting woman in Lake View apartment building
* Books: Publishers Weekly best sellers for the week ending April 22
* Police investigating woman’s death in Aurora
* Man, 63, reported missing from Gresham
* 2 wounded in Austin shooting

* Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher after strong results
* Evacuation remains in place after Wisconsin refinery blast injures at least 11
* Kim Jong Un Kim says he and Moon Jae-in are on the starting line of a new Korean history
* Kyle Schwarber home run enough for 1-0 Cubs victory over Brewers
* Roquan Smith says it’s ‘going to be insane’ playing with Leonard Floyd again
* Bears draft linebacker Roquan Smith with eighth pick
* Roquan Smith hoping to find his place in Bears' rich tradition at linebacker
* Defending his record to Congress, EPA chief Pruitt shifts spending blame to staff
* With new allegations against Tom Brokaw, NBC faces skepticism in remedying sexual harassment
* Two shot after string of carjackings on North Side: 'I was shaking so much I could barely stand'

» April 26, 2018 - Full Show
» Chicago Band The Claudettes' New Album Fueled By New Vocalist
» State And Local Gun Laws; Continuous Struggle Of Public Universities; McDonald’s New Headquarters
» Reporter Finds Carrying A Gun Carries Weighty Responsibility
» Illinois Lawmaker Considers Legislation After Nashville Waffle House Shooting
» Gun Owners Rally In Springfield While Gun Dealer Lincensing Veto Remains
» April 25, 2018 - Full Show
» Illinois State Fairgrounds Named On Endangered Historic Places List
» Food, Agriculture And Politics In The Next Farm Bill; Evangelicalism In The Age of Trump
» A Flexible Schedule Is The Wellness Benefit Workers Want

* Bill that allows patients to sub opioids for pot clears Senate
* McCann threatens to sue to get Senate staff support
* Guest View: Illinois is middle of the pack when it comes to best practices for the opioid epidemic
* Eugene Robinson: Cohen needs to ask himself: Does Trump have my back?
* Thumbs Down: To the same old, same old in Illinois politics
* Michael Gerson: Conservatism's high calling is to humanize change
* Bump stock ban passes Illinois Senate
* Statehouse bill would give tax breaks to Illinois construction projects
* AFSCME wants step increases now
* McCann threatens to sue to get staff support

* Toni' Intravaia
* Boil order lifted in Murphysboro
* Clifton E. Lawrence
* James F. Perrotto
* Oleva L. Dick
* Two employees reinstated by Saline County Board
* Godfrey terror suspect's lawyer seeks 2nd mental fitness evaluation ahead of May trial
* Parkland Softball vs. Rock Valley
* PCHS ROUNDUP: Seniors in spotlight at Dragon Invitational track meet
* Legislation could increase rent for some Decatur public housing residents. Here's why.

* Softball scoreboard: Thursday, April 26 results
* Girls track scoreboard: Thursday, April 26 results
* Girls soccer scoreboard: Thursday, April 26 results
* Girls water polo scoreboard: Thursday, April 26 results
* Girls lacrosse scoreboard: Thursday, April 26 results

* Congressmen Talk Bipartisan Issues at Bradley
* Joe Lieberman: A New Way to Keep Ideologue...
* Lipinski honors 'All-Americans'
* Senators Make Bipartisan Push to Boost Car...
* Republican congressmen Davis, Shimkus and ...
* EPA chief faces Capitol Hill grilling over...
* It's official: If you prepaid your propert...
* Hultgren makes Earth Day pledge as newest ...
* Senate passes Leahy-led resolution urging ...
* A quick look at a few congressional races ...

* Jared Kushner Can't Get Lawmakers to Suppo......
* Editorial: Congressional intervention woul......
* User data is valuable — so companies shoul......
* British MPs say they may try to compel Zuc......
* Pompeo confirmed for Secretary of State; D......

* Duckworth comes back to Senate with her ba......
* Senate Narrowly Confirms Mike Pompeo for S......
* Straight, clear thinking from women in pow......
* On Twitter, Hillary Clinton is a 'wife' ab......
* Tammy Duckworth and Working Moms Like Mine...

* Chicago-based Kitchen Toke, the first zine devoted to cooking with weed, preaches the green word
* Weapon H smashes together two of Marvel's most beloved heroes into a brilliant new series
* Lakeside Center Career & Training Fair at Olive-Harvey College #Ward09
* Stanley Moore: The Reintroduction of Rope a Dope
* If you can’t smoke weed right now, you might as well read about it
* Rauner delves into ‘robot’ mode – spewing lines about “Madigan pawns”
* High rents force Wishbone out of its West Loop home after 26 years
* All Chicago Public Libraries To Be Closed On Tuesday, May 1st
* Deep Learning Models That Predict Conflicts In Online Communities
* Instructional design improves engagement in online courses

* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters
* Governor Rauner activates State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield
* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties

* Oreo for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition begins rolling out
* Android 8.0 Oreo update tracker – April 27, 2018
* SwiftKey update lets you customize the toolbar, beta version gets small visual refresh
* Amazon Fire HD 10 going for as low as $100
* LG G7 taller and brighter teaser, Galaxy S9 Active rumors & more – Pocketnow Daily
* Apple may drop 3D-Touch on upcoming entry-level LCD iPhone
* Why running a Medium column will do more for your company than a traditional blog

* Renteria to miss 3 games for mother's funeral
* White Sox Minor League Update: April 26, 2018
* White Sox go deep five times to topple Royals
* Deep Space Five
* White Sox go deep five times to topple Royals
* South Side Sox Roster Ranking: Round 21
* White Sox go deep five times in six frames

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller