From: Cook County Chief Judge Evans
Discussions continue on the upcoming phases of operation in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The court is currently operating on its modified schedule through May 31. The court continues to monitor the pandemic and is mindful that the pandemic is not expected to peak until mid-June.
On Thursday, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans will enter an order that essentially extends his current order to July 6 or until further order of court, meaning the date could be earlier than July 6. On June 1, emergency matters will continue to be heard in civil and criminal cases. Since the modified court operations began on March 17, judges have heard more than 111,000 criminal matters either in person or via videoconference. The number of hearings in civil cases is still being compiled.
Chief Judge Evans considered entering an order to resume more court proceedings on June 15. But he decided to extend the date to July 6 to allow enough time for all justice system stakeholders to ensure that more proceedings will be conducted in a way that protects everybody. These conditions have not been finalized, but they will be consistent with best practices involving face coverings, physical distancing, room capacity limits and flexibility for those who cannot attend court due to illness or exposure to illness.
Chief Judge Evans is asking judges to review pending cases with attorneys via telephone or videoconference to determine when cases can be scheduled on or after July 6.
In addition, the court is seeking additional Zoom licenses, so that more proceedings may be conducted via videoconference and livestreamed via the court’s YouTube channel. The court currently has 50 Zoom licenses and is awaiting the result of contractual negotiations between the county and Zoom to secure 350 more Zoom licenses.
The court will continue to monitor the pandemic and make additional announcements as needed.