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Ind. to test cameras, audio in courtrooms

By The Associated Press
05.10.06

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The state's chief justice yesterday authorized some judges to allow cameras and audio recorders into their courtrooms as part of a pilot program easing restrictions on the news media.

The 18-month program was started in response to requests from broadcasters and newspapers. Eight trial judges have agreed to participate.

"We think that in general the public benefits by knowing more about what happens in its courts," Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said.

Shepard said the order would allow journalists to better report what happens in courtrooms and permit real-time Webcasts of many proceedings.

Randy Wheeler, news director of Evansville radio station WIKY, said the public should be able "to see and feel and hear the emotions of the courtroom that can't be captured by the written word."

One video camera, one still camera and up to three audio recorders will be allowed in a courtroom at a time.

Justices approved the order by a 3-2 vote. The project begins July 1 and lasts until the end of 2007. Members of the news media must agree to share coverage under an arrangement approved by the trial judge in advance.

Steve Key, attorney for the Hoosier State Press Association, said the new courtroom access represented the "continuation of a trend."

"The media has not been seen as an enemy of the courts but as a window to open up the courts," he said.


Update
Changes nixed for Ind. courtroom-cameras project
Press advocates had sought looser rules for test cases in pilot project allowing cameras into local courts; state high court says no. 05.26.07

Related

Illinois high court rejects bid to allow cameras in courtrooms

Chief justice tells AP that court denied news-media request out of concern about how coverage could affect juror, public opinion. 09.15.05

Iowa judge approves cameras in kidnapping trial
Defense attorney had objected to newspaper's request for cameras in courtroom during proceedings for man charged with abducting 9-year-old girl. 12.15.05

2 justices say high court no place for TV cameras
Clarence Thomas tells House panel that coverage could undermine how justices consider cases; Anthony Kennedy says camera decision is Court's business. 04.06.06

Cameras to be allowed in Atlanta courthouse-shooting trial
Judge says court could adjust order, attach conditions to broadcast coverage if circumstances warrant. 11.10.06

Ind. courtroom-cameras project called inconclusive
Pilot program providing 'insufficient evidence' for workability in state court system, says one news director. 11.10.07

Justice & Journalism

Cameras in the courtroom


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