Cameras to be allowed in Indiana courtrooms

Cameras to be allowed in Indiana courtrooms
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana Supreme Court has long ruled that cameras do not belong inside any court proceedings.

After a four-month pilot program, a public comment period and careful evaluation from the court, they have decided to overturn that, and allow local judges like Chief Judge of the Vanderburgh Superior Court Les Shively to decide if news media can take video, photos or recordings inside of a courtroom.

“The more the public knows how our courts operate,” says Shively, “the more the public will understand decisions by judges and verdicts by juries.”

Shively was a participant in that pilot program.

He says what goes on inside a courtroom isn’t what most people think.

“We can take that so-called ‘jury experience,’ and give it to the public in general. I think this will go a long way,” says Shively.

“Shows like Judge Judy and people like Nancy Grace that talk about sensational cases really do not accurately reflect what’s going on, how our courts operate,” explains Shively.

Once put into effect, it’s up to a judge to decide whether or not the media is allowed in the courtroom.

Shively says they will still be protecting juries, juveniles and those involved in domestic cases, and he even noted that they will still ask both the prosecution and defense for their stances and take them into consideration.

With all of that said, he’s looking forward to working with the media to bridge that gap between the courts and the public.

“All trials constitutionally, except for juvenile proceedings and things, are to be open to the public, and the reason they’re open to the public is to make sure that due process is being afforded to the parties,” says Shively, “and I think for the most part, having cameras in the courtroom takes that concept one step further.”

So with a judge’s discretion, starting May 1, viewers may be able to catch those parts of a trial or a big case most people don’t ever get to see from the comfort of their own homes.