Struggling for Access to Indiana Courtrooms

The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded a $5,000 Legal Defense Fund grant to help salvage a pilot program designed to allow cameras and recording devices in trial courtrooms.

Indiana is one of 13 states that does not permitted cameras in the trial courts. Last year, the state Supreme Court agreed to test their use through the pilot program. But since then, more than 350 requests for cameras in courtrooms have been denied, mostly because criminal defense attorneys said their clients did not want to be photographed or filmed.

The rules of the pilot program require consent from all parties involved in a case before journalists can bring recording equipment into a courtroom. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard has has already rejected a request to loosen the rules, and media advocates say the decision will require redoubled efforts to generate test cases before the project’s end.

Stay tuned for more information as this battle develops.