Chief judge orders Cook County cases to be held by videoconference
Criminal and civil cases pending in Cook County will be held by videoconference except in "extraordinary or compelling circumstances" in response to the statewide surge of COVID-19 cases, according to an order issued late Monday by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans.
Effective immediately, the order continues until further notice, according to a court spokeswoman.
Evans ordered no criminal bench trials and no jury trials of any kind be held until further order of the court. Jury trials were suspended during the pandemic, but bench trials continued. The order allows for plea hearings in criminal matters, according to procedures outlined in the order.
Except for those performing essential duties, judges and other court employees will work remotely.
Temperature checks, masks and physical distancing are required in courtrooms and throughout courthouses.
"These actions are needed to protect public health, as we continue to monitor this pandemic," Evans said in a prepared statement, adding the courts have "continued to hear all necessary and urgent matters, and today's order does not change that. I commend everybody in the justice system for their flexibility during this unprecedented period."
Marriages will be performed by videoconference, by appointment. Cases involving traffic tickets or misdemeanor charges will be heard via videoconference, and parties will be notified by mail of their next court date.
For more information, call (312) 603-5030 or visit cookcountyclerkofcourt.org.