Attorneys object to cameras at DuPage murder trial

Special to the Tribune

When the DuPage County courts began experimenting with cameras last fall, courthouse observers predicted that the trial of Johnny Borizov, accused of killing three members of a Darien family, would likely be the first major trial in the area to feature the enhanced media coverage.

But with Borizov due to stand trial next month, both his attorneys and DuPage County prosecutors are seeking to keep cameras out of the courtroom.

Judge Daniel Guerin, who is presiding over the Borizov trial, will hear arguments Monday over whether to allow two video cameras and two still photographers when the trial begins April 16.

Borizov, of Willow Springs, is accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jeffrey and Lori Kramer and their son, Michael, 20. Borizov, prosecutors say, goaded a friend into breaking into the Kramer residence and shooting the family because Borizov was locked in a custody fight with Angela Kramer, who is the Kramers' daughter.

Jacob Nodarse, the confessed triggerman, has already pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder and is scheduled to be a prosecution witness at Borizov's trial.

The trial is expected to generate significant interest, but neither side wants cameras to record it.

"I don't think either one of the families wants it," attorney Paul DeLuca, a member of Borizov's defense team, said Friday.

In a Thursday hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Joe Ruggiero said his office would formally seek to ban the cameras. A motion filed by prosecutors argues that the cameras would be intrusive. In addition, prosecutors said they expect at least one informant to testify.

The Kramer family also is objecting to the cameras, according to prosecutors.

Since the experiment began in DuPage, cameras have been present only at arraignments and minor hearings. So far, the cameras have not been present at any trial in DuPage or any proceedings involving a witness. However, other murder trials have been photographed in Illinois courtrooms outside the Chicago area since the state Supreme Court started the pilot program last year.

DeLuca said he was worried the camera would take the jurors' focus off the testimony.

"If you have cameras moving around, it will catch the eyes of the jurors, and the jury will be looking at them and it will be a distraction," he said.

The DuPage guidelines, however, require camera operators and photographers to remain seated unless otherwise directed by the judge. The guidelines also mandate that any hearing featuring testimony or witnesses will be moved into Room 4000, which is the largest courtroom in the judicial center in Wheaton and can accommodate camera equipment in the back, where it would be less visible.

The first televised DuPage proceeding, an appearance by a Naperville woman accused of killing her young son and another child, was held in Room 4000.

The judge could, under the local rules, allow the enhanced media coverage but order that a divider or screen be placed between the jury and any photographers.

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