On June 30, 2021, the Illinois Supreme Court issued two new rules: one calling for an ease in or elimination of social distancing restrictions and reimplementing requirements for speedy trials in criminal and juvenile cases. Chief Justice Anne Burke said that the two orders should help courts throughout the state prepare for a return in normal operations.
In a statement, Chief Justice Burke said that despite the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus, the courts stayed open while thousands of court proceedings occurred through both virtual and in-person visits. But she also added that it has been a significant challenge to conduct criminal jury trials.
The order which calls for normal speedy trials takes effect on October 1, which gives court judges 90 days to prepare for the trial delays to be lifted. Additionally, all the days the defendants—who were charged prior to March 20—spent in custody or out on bail will be counted toward the computation of a speedy trial.
Gov. JB Pritzker first issued the COVID-19 emergency order on March 17, 2020, causing the Supreme Court to issue a sweeping order allowing courts to suspend normal deadlines in both criminal and civil cases, restrict access to state courthouses, and perform all court proceedings remotely.
Then on March 20, the Supreme Court issued another order, stating that delays in criminal cases caused by the earlier order would not count toward the speedy trial requirement. According to state law, defendants must face trial within 120 days from the date they were taken into custody, or within 160 days from the date they demand a trial, if they are released on bail. Then another order was issued by the court on April 20 to allow such delays for juvenile proceedings.
If you have recently been arrested for or charged with a crime in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Steven Fine today at (312) 436-0638 for a free consultation. Attorney Fine has more than two decades of trial-tested experience.