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Daily Journal
     March 17, 2020      #56-77 KDJ

Local courts postpone many criminal and civil

Daily Journal staff report

KANKAKEE — Many criminal and civil cases in Kankakee and Iroquois counties will be postponed through April 17 due to recommendations from the Illinois Supreme Court.

The local decision for postponement came Monday, a day in which court was in session in Kankakee County for a jury trial.

The High Court has advised that non-essential, in-person court proceedings may pose a risk to participants, court staff or the public. Courts may avoid this risk by rescheduling court events to a later date, especially jury trials and large docket calls, or, alternatively, by holding proceedings via telephone or video remote appearance when possible.

“The Judges of the 21st Judicial Circuit have been monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Judge Michael Kramer said in a statement. “This is an ever-changing situation with daily, if not hourly, updates. The Illinois Supreme Court recommends that courts follow the CDC’s directives to avoid large gatherings and practice ‘social distancing.’”

Locally, no jury trials in civil matters will begin in the next 30 days. Limited criminal matters will proceed. Those who have been summoned for jury duty should report if healthy. Those with symptoms of illness are asked to call the jury coordinator to reschedule their jury service.

Most trials and hearings scheduled for the next 30 days for all adult criminal cases on felony and misdemeanor charges, as well as traffic citations, are postponed to a future date.

Hearings that will proceed in the 30 days include bail hearings, arraignments, preliminary hearings, initial and second-look bail hearings, statutory summary suspension hearings, victim orders of protection, emergency motions, medical recognizance hearings, juvenile detention hearings, shelter care hearings, mental health hearings, bond reduction motions, continuation of subpoenas, proceedings involving in custody defendants, Saturday/Holiday morning bond call hearings at the Jerome Combs Detention Center.

In addition, for the 30 days, low- and medium-risk adults on probation do not need to meet with their probation officer in person. Probation officers have contacted clients to inform them that they will schedule meetings to be held via phone. Clients deemed high-risk will still be required to report to their probation officers in person.

For delinquency and criminal proceedings involving juveniles, the only matters that will occur during the next 30 days are juveniles in custody and detention hearings that determine if a juvenile is held in custody while the case is pending.

Judges will hear cases of child abuse or neglect in which the state seeks protective custody of a child, and judges will hear emergency motions in which children are possibly being abused in foster care.

For domestic violence matters, petitioners may seek orders of protection during the 30 days. Litigants may also seek an order of protection related to an existing civil domestic relations case (such as dissolution of marriage).

For the 30-day period, all civil matters not deemed an emergency are postponed to a future date. Emergency requests in civil matters will be permitted if allowed by the presiding judge.

No orders for an eviction or foreclosure will be entered during the 30-day period.

Civil lawsuits may still be filed in person or via electronic filing.

Marriages will not be performed at the courthouse until further notice.

All courthouse tours, teen court, mock trials or other public events, scheduled between now and Friday, April 17, are canceled. Future tours may be scheduled through the Circuit Clerk.

Some courtrooms have standing orders governing their cases.

Called for jury duty?

Those who have been summoned for jury duty should report if healthy. Those with symptoms of illness are asked to call the jury coordinator to reschedule their jury service.

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