All over the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close for the time being and restricted public access to many government operations, including the courthouses. However, the court system is considered essential, which means many court proceedings are still ongoing with social distancing in mind.
In general, courts are still handling emergency cases and judges are encouraged to use phone or video conferences for court proceedings, if practicable. The following is an overview of measures issued by several Illinois criminal courts during the coronavirus outbreak.
Du Page County Criminal Court
All felony matters will be rescheduled to a future court date, except for arraignments and preliminary hearings, emergency motions (e.g. domestic violence and protective orders), speedy trial demands and matters with in-custody defendants, as well as some bench and jury trials.
All misdemeanor and traffic matters will also be rescheduled to a future court date, except for emergency motions (e.g. domestic violence and protective orders), speedy trial demands and matters with in-custody defendants, first appearance matters on previously filed petitions to rescind a summary suspension, and some bench and jury trials.
All juvenile matters will be rescheduled to a future court date, except for abuse and neglect matters (e.g. emergency motions, shelter care hearings, removal of endangered minors, and return of minors to parents) and delinquency matters (e.g. emergency motions, detention hearings, in-custody minor matters, as well as trial and evidentiary hearings.
Cook County Criminal Court
Judges are available in-person to hear emergency hearings, while all hearings will be held via videoconferencing or teleconferencing. Pretrial bail hearings will be held at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
Arraignments and preliminary hearings, as well as jury trials in progress, that already have a scheduled date will proceed. Juvenile detention hearings and other emergency motions will be held at 1100 S. Hamilton Ave., Chicago.
Other matters that are currently scheduled will be rescheduled and continued for 56 days, while all matters currently scheduled after April 30, 2020, will be scheduled and continued for 35 days. When it comes to misdemeanor and traffic cases, they will continue after May 18, 2020.
Lake County Criminal Court
Judges will be available in-person to hear emergency matters (e.g. arraignments and preliminary hearings, in-custody cases, bond hearings, speedy trial term cases, statutory summary suspension hearings, protective order hearings, warrants, mental-health-related cases, etc.). All misdemeanor and traffic cases will be heard after May 15, 2020.
If you have been recently arrested or charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, let our Chicago criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Steven Fine protect your rights and freedom during this trying and uncertain time. Our firm is open and available to any clients via phone or videoconferencing.
Contact us today at (312) 436-0638 and schedule a free consultation to learn more about your current criminal case.