DuPage County government officials have announced that DuPage County will be closing down the Downers Grove Field Court and moving all of the cases at that Branch Court to the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton. The change is expected to take place by the end of the year. The Downers Grove Field Court is located at 4000 Saratoga Avenue in Downers Grove. It is located inside American Legion Post 80. The Downers Grove Field hears Traffic Cases, Municipal Ordinance Violations, and minor Misdemeanor violations from The following municipalities in DuPage County: Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Lisle, Oakbrook Terrace, Westmont, Willowbrook, Woodridge, and the Illinois State Police.
According to the DuPage County Board, the move was made because the Chief Judge of DuPage County wants the Downers Grove Field Court closed and move to the main Courthouse on County Farm Road in Wheaton. DuPage County Board members claim that security concerns were the main reason for making the move. Late last year, metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Downers Grove Field Court. At least two DuPage County Sheriffs were assigned to the entrance to screen the people entering the building. Prior to that happening, there was no security at the entrance to the facility in Downers Grove.
The overwhelming majority of criminal cases are at the DuPage County Courthouse on County Farm Road in Wheaton. DuPage County has 4 Branch Courts that handle mostly Municipal Ordinance Violations and traffic ticket cases from specific municipalities in a limited geographic area in DuPage County. The Branch Courts also handle some minor Misdemeanor cases from those municipalities. This is a little like the Municipal District Courts in Cook County. Cases arising out of certain suburbs are sent to one of 6 Municipal District Courts in Cook County. For instance, a traffic ticket in Schaumburg will be at the Third Municipal District Courthouse in Rolling Meadows. The 4 Branch Courts in DuPage County are the Wheaton Branch Court, Downers Grove Branch Court, Glendale Heights Branch Court, and Addison Field Court. All 4 Branch Courts used to be in separate locations. A few years ago, the Field Courts in Glendale Heights and Wheaton, were moved to Rooms 1001 and 1003 of the DuPage County Courthouse. That left the Downers Grove Field Court and the Addison Field Court as the only Branch Courts that were not at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton. Now that the Downers Grove Field Court is being moved to the DuPage County Courthouse, the only remaining Branch Court that is not located in Wheaton will be the Addison Field Court.
The reason for the move, security concerns, doesn’t make sense. As I stated earlier, metal detectors and added security personnel were added about a year ago in Downers Grove. The only remaining Field Court that will not be located in Wheaton is the Addison Field Court. The Addison Field Court does not have metal detectors or any security personnel entrance to the building or the entrance to the Courtroom. The Addison Field Court is located inside the Village of Addison Municipal complex off of Lake Street and John F Kennedy Boulevard. The Addison Field Court is inside the same room where the Village Board has its meetings. The room is located on the second floor. The entrance to the building is configure in such a way that it would be difficult to add metal detectors and conduct security screenings for the people that are entering the building. Yet, there is no mention about the security concerns at the Addison Field Court. If security were such a concern, they could install metal detectors on the second floor of the building at the entrance to the room that’s being used for Court proceedings.
One of the main reasons for setting up 4 separate Branch Courts in DuPage County was to make it easier for the residents of DuPage County and the Police Officers in the various towns in DuPage County. Having a Field Court that is located close to a specific municipality would help the residents of DuPage County by not requiring them to drive all the way to to Wheaton for a simple traffic ticket. Police Officers would not be inconvenienced by having to drive all the way to Wheaton. This would save time and money for the municipalities, and help the residents of DuPage County by placing a Field Court that is conveniently located throughout DuPage County. The Downers Grove Field Court serviced the communities in the southern part of DuPage County. The municipalities covered by the Downers Grove Field Court presented the DuPage County Board with several proposals to locate the Branch Court in the same geographic area as the Downers Grove Field Court. However, DuPage County officials rejected their proposals because the option to move the Downers Grove Field Court to another location in the same geographic area was more expensive than moving the Downers Grove Field Court to the first floor of the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton. Therefore, it’s pretty clear that the move is being made for financial reasons and not for security reasons.
James Dimeas, is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, criminal defense lawyer, with over-28 years of experience handling criminal cases in DuPage County, Chicago, Cook 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.
DuPage County Planning to Close Field Court in Downers Grove, by Robert Sanchez, The Daily Herald, April 1, 2020.
What is a Municipal Ordinance Violation and Do I Need a Lawyer for a Municipal Ordinance Violation, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2017.
Can I Really Go To Jail For Speeding? by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, November 9, 2019.