Will Stevenson -- Illinois Radio Network

The state project allowing still and television cameras to cover certain criminal cases in some Illinois courtrooms could soon come to the state's capital.

The 7th Judicial Circuit is the latest to apply for the Illinois Supreme Court's extended media coverage pilot program -- formed to see if it should be required statewide. Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt has helped encourage the whole circuit to take part.

"I think it's a wonderful project," says Schmidt.  "The Supreme Court has given us some fantastic rules that allow the media enhanced media coverage of court proceedings.  The courts belong to all of us."

"We've arranged to have either meetings or teleconferences so that the logistics for it happening can be worked out," says Joe Tybor, Director of Communications, Illinois Supreme Court.

Tybor says once that happens and the application is approved, the 7th Circuit could be the 16th circuit to be approved.  Fifteen counties representing 41 counties have been approved.  The largest of those is Cook County, and Tybor says that could be a testing ground to a permanent statewide arrangement.
"The feeling is if it works in Cook County, along a formula for success -- the barometer for success...it could work around the state.  If and when that happens, is uncertain at this point," says Tybor, who says the 7th Circuit will also be an important test area.