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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Impact on Local Courts and Criminal Cases

Coronavirus-Court-Closings-300x200The Coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on our daily lives. The pandemic has had a substantial impact on our Court system and on the multitude of criminal cases that are pending in the area-Courthouses. Each County has taken substantial steps to stem the outbreak of this pandemic by limiting Court operations and taking affirmative steps to limit human contact in the Courthouses in the hopes of slowing down the progression of the virus which is at the heart of this problem. While most of the steps taken by all the Courts are similar, there are minor differences between the various counties in the area. I want to take this opportunity to point out what is happening from County to County, and how this may impact you, and your criminal case.

Circuit Court of Cook County

On March 13, 2020, the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Timothy Evans, issued a Court Order that became effective on March 17, 2020. Judge Evans’s Order provides that all matters pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County are rescheduled at continued for at least 30 days from the original Court date. All the judges will be available to hear emergency matters. Preliminary Hearings, Bond Hearings, and Arraignments, will proceed as originally scheduled. If the parties reach a plea agreement, Judges will be available to accept the Plea Agreements and resolve cases. Traffic and Misdemeanor cases will be continued to the next key date as long as the next key date is at least 30 days from the original Court date. The Order from Judge Evans provides that the Clerk of the Circuit Court will provide postcard notice of the new Court date to the defendant.

According to the Court Order from Judge Evans, it looks like the current Grand Jury will be in session and extended until April 30, 2020. However, no new Grand Jury will be impaneled before March 31. Any forensic examinations such as an Alcohol Evaluation, or a BCX Evaluation, will be rescheduled for at least 30 days after the scheduled date. Any in-person meetings between representatives of the Adult Probation Department, or Social Service Department, will only be reserved for high-risk clients. For any low-risk, or moderate-risk clients, the officers will contact the clients to schedule phone conferences. If your case is scheduled for a Mental Health Hearing, your Hearing will proceed as scheduled. The Court will issue any further Orders that may be required to deal with this Coronavirus pandemic.

Circuit Court of DuPage County

On March 16, 2020, the Chief Judge of DuPage County, Daniel P. Guerin, issued an Order that became effective on March 17, 2020. In general, his Order provides that all cases pending in DuPage County Circuit Court are rescheduled to after April 17, 2020. His Order provides that all cases pending in DuPage County will be continued for 30 to 60 days after their originally scheduled Court date. All parties in a case will be notified of the new court dates. All the Traffic Courts in DuPage County, Addison, Downers Grove, and Rooms 1001 and 1003 in the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, are closed until after April 17, 2020. All the cases pending in the Traffic Courts will be automatically continued and you and your lawyer will be notified of the new Court date by the Cler of the Circuit Court.

Bond Hearings will proceed daily. If your case is set for a Preliminary Hearing or an Arraignment, your case will proceed as scheduled. Judges will be available to hear Emergency Motions. Any cases involving Defendants who are in custody will proceed as scheduled. If you are facing a DUI and your case is set for a Statutory Summary Suspension Hearing, your case will proceed as scheduled. Specialty Courts, such as Drug Court and Veterans Court will proceed as scheduled. Grand Jury proceedings will continue as scheduled. Prosecutors will be allowed to file Petitions to Revoke as long as it’s filed before the final termination date of your sentence.

Circuit Court of Kane County

On March 16, 2020, the Chief Judge of Kane County, Clint Hull, issued an Order that became effective on March 17 2020. The Order from Judge Hull, provides that all cases in the 16th Judicial Circuit, Kane County, Illinois, are continued to after April 17 2020. All cases will be continued for at least 35-days from the originally scheduled Court date. Bond Court will be heard daily in-Room 005 in the lower-level of the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles. Bond Hearings that are normally heard at the Aurora and Elgin Branch Courts will be sent to Room 005 at the Kane County Judicial Center.

Kane County Felonies

If the Defendant is in custody and the case is set for trial, the trial will proceed unless the parties have reached an agreement to continue the trial to a future Court date. If the parties have reached a plea agreement, and the defendant is in custody, the parties can appear in court and have the case resolved.

Kane County DUI’s-Room 203

If your case is set for trial or if you are charged with a DUI and your case is set for a Statutory Summary Suspension hearing, your case will proceed unless an agreement to continue the case has been reached. If you are in custody and a plea agreement has been reached that will result in your release from jail, the parties can appear in Court and have the case resolved. If you are facing a DUI and are in custody and do not have a lawyer, and your case is pending in the Branch Courts in Aurora, Elgin, and Kane County, your case will proceed in Room 203.

Kane County Domestic Battery-Room 209

If a case is set for Trial, and the defendant is in custody, the Trial will proceed unless the parties reach an agreement to continue the case to a future Court date. If the defendant is in custody and the parties have reached a plea agreement it will result in the defendant being released from custody, the parties can appear in Court and have the plea agreement approved by the court. All Order of Protection Hearings will proceed as scheduled.

Kane County Violation of Probation-Room 123

If a defendant is in custody for a Violation of Probation in Kane County, the hearing will continue as scheduled unless the parties agree to continue the hearing to a future Court date. If the parties reach an agreement that will result in the release of the defendant from jail, the parties can appear in Court and have the plea agreement approved by the Court so that the defendant can be released from custody.

Judges will be available to hear Emergency Motions or if the Defendant is in custody and a Motion to Reduce Bond is filed that may result in the release of the defendant from jail. Grand Jury proceedings will continue but no new Grand Jury can be em-paneled before April 28. The current Grand Jury, who’s term expires on March 31,will be extended to April 31, 2020. Kane County Specialty Courts such as Mental Health Court, and Veterans Court, will be held every Wednesday morning at 9 am in Room 123. However, the defendant’s presence may be waived by their Probation Officer.

Circuit Court of Lake County

On March 16, 2020, the Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit , Diane Winter, issued an Order that became effective on March 17, 2020. The Order provides that all cases pending in the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lake County, Illinois are continued for 28 days from the originally scheduled Court date. Judges will be available to hear emergency matters. However, if you have filed a Speedy Trial Demand and there is no agreement reached to continue the trial date, your case will proceed. Bond Hearings will be held daily, including weekends and holidays. If a defendant is in custody and the parties have reached a plea agreement, the case will proceed as scheduled. All criminal cases involving mental health issues will proceed as scheduled. Order of Protection hearings in Domestic Battery cases in Lake County will also proceed. For any criminal cases that will proceed, those cases will be held in Room T-110 at the Lake County Judicial Center in Waukegan.

The measures taken above are unprecedented. Since there is no way of knowing how this pandemic will proceed, all the Chief Judges in all the counties have reserved the right to make changes to the steps taken in each County. It is entirely possible that the closings may be extended if it becomes necessary. We will keep you informed of any changes that may be announced.

James Dimeas, is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, criminal defense lawyer, with over-27 years of experience handling criminal cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the Year 2018 and 2019” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney” and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys awarded James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest classification possible for any criminal defense lawyer in the United States. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys recognized James Dimeas as a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.

If you have a criminal case in Illinois, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a personal consultation by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Blogs:

Do I Have to Appear For Every Court Date, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, May 28, 2019.

I Have a Criminal Case. Do I Need a Lawyer?, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2019.

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