Jurisdiction not camera shy

July 31, 2008
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Indianapolis documentary filmmaker Karen Grau’s request to film juvenile court proceedings in Lake County has been granted by the Indiana Supreme Court. Grau is no stranger to Indiana’s juvenile courts, as she has already worked on several documentaries with Lake Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura, whose courtroom will be featured again in this latest documentary.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said the court agreed to allow Grau’s cameras in again with the understanding her six-part series would shed light on the concerns facing the courts and children served by the court. Keeping people informed about the issues facing the juvenile justice system is a valid reason to allow proceedings to be taped, he said.

Grau has been allowed access to Indiana’s courtrooms numerous times over the years and has managed to always find participants willing to sign release forms to be in documentaries.

Indiana’s Cameras in the Courtroom pilot project that wrapped up at the end of last year wasn’t so lucky. In the project’s 18-month span, only six proceedings in the eight designated courts were filmed. Getting consent from all the parties – especially from defendants – proved difficult.

What is it about Grau’s documentaries that allow her to find participants, whereas the Supreme Court’s pilot project struggled to get just six proceedings taped? Is it that there is hope that filming juvenile proceedings will cause other young people to straighten up before they commit crimes or become criminals as adults, whereas the cameras in the courtroom project will be more of an informational tool for the general public about how the courts system works?
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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