Recently Retired Cook County Judge Marvin Luckman passed away

I am sorry to report that long-time, former Cook County Judge Marvin Luckman has passed away at the age of 87.  He was on the bench from 1992 through 2018, serving mostly in Cook County criminal courtrooms.

He was always a pleasure to appear before.  He was a no-nonsense judge, who knew the law and also had good common sense. He also told great stories.  He will be missed by all.

Cook County Courts to move into next phase of re-opening July 6th

Chief Judge Timothy Evans issued a new Order today regarding the re-opening of Cook County Courts (or not) on July 6th.

Basically, it states that after 7/6, court will resume, but by “video-conference to the extent reasonably possible.”  It also states that in the suburban districts all in-person hearings for misdemeanor and traffic cases will be continued.  I am awaiting information regarding additional Zoom courtroom set-ups for the suburban districts.

When there will be in-person court hearings, they are to be staggered to try to avoid having too many people at the same time and there will be limits on the number of people allowed in a courtroom.  There will be temperature checks and other rules, such as only allowing only four people in a courthouse elevator at the same time.

If the parties agree, bench trials will be permitted via video-conference.

I can add that most civil matters are being rescheduled for long dates.  Earlier this week, I received notification that the next status date in a personal injury case that I am handling has been rescheduled from the end of July to mid-March.  Also, all mortgage foreclosures and evictions are stayed until after July 31st.

Chicago Traffic Court to expand Zoom Courtrooms beginning July 6th

For the past three weeks, the “major traffic” courtrooms at Chicago’s Daley Center have been operating via Zoom.  Judges have been hearing discovery statuses, setting cases for hearings or trials (knock on wood) on future dates and hearing negotiated pleas.  This week, I resolved three DUI cases via Zoom that way.

Today, Presiding Judge Kenneth Wright issued a new order, expanding Zoom courtrooms to the minor rooms, beginning July 6th.  This includes the concourse level courtrooms (CL01, CL03, CL05 and CL07), the motion courtroom (LL04) and three additional courtrooms on the fourth floor (401, 403 and 407).

Although the order is not explicit, it seems to imply that only attorneys should go on the Zoom unless there is a specific need for the client to appear (for example, in a plea to a misdemeanor offense).

As with my last post, I do not want to post the order online because it contains the Zoom codes, but if you are an attorney, please email me at HaroldWallin@gmail.com

Fourth Floor Daley Center major courtrooms to resume next week via Zoom

Today, Presiding Judge Kenneth Wright entered an Order which calls for the resumption of major Chicago traffic rooms beginning next week.  These are the courtrooms that hear Class A misdemeanor traffic matters such as DUI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and aggravated speeding.  Cases that were assigned to courtrooms 402, 404, 405, 406 and 408 will hear cases via Zoom.  Only attorneys are required to appear, defendants and officers are excused (unless a defendant wishes to appear, in which case his or her attorney can provide him or her with the Zoom code).

I will not post the order here, because it contains the Zoom sign-in information.  If you are an attorney who wants a copy, send me an email at HaroldWallin@gmail.com.

Two Cook County Judges at Bridgeview Courthouse test positive for COVID-19

These are the first Cook County Judges to test positive for the Coronavirus.  Earlier this month, a Judge in Lake County in Waukegan tested positive.

Here is a link to the story from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cook County extends court closure through July 6th

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans has signed a new order extending the COVID-19 shutdown through July 6th, so that the court can have more time to set up Zoom accounts in each courtroom.

What is left unclear at this time is whether the 50 courtrooms that currently have Zoom accounts will be allowed to proceed with basic hearings such as misdemeanor pleas using the service.

Hopefully, more details will be released soon.

Here is a link to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin with more information.

Lake County, IL will be holding Court via Zoom starting June 1st

Lake County will be moving most court operations online beginning next week, on June 1st.  As you can see from the video that I posted above, you will need to download Zoom and create a free account if you haven’t one already, then go the Lake County web page to find your courtroom Zoom link.  Make sure to read the Court’s remote hearing instructions and protocols.

Cook County is working on resuming Court on June 1st, but mostly through Zoom

Today, practitioners got some news about Cook County’s plans to resume court on June 1st, through meetings sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association and the Northwest Suburban Bar Association.  The meetings were conducted on Zoom.  I was able to attend the CBA meeting, and listen to Presiding Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr. speak about plans for the Criminal Division.  Due to Zoom limitations on the number of attendees, I was unable to sit in the NWSBA meeting, but I have heard some news from members and the video will be posted sometime soon.  I will update this blog if new information arises.

Also today, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an Order and guidelines for re-opening, which you can find here.  In summary, the Court recommends resuming operations, but encourages remote court appearances as much as possible, recommended that the Court prioritize certain cases and laid out safety precautions for courts to follow.

As for Cook County, expect each Division to announce its new rules sometime next week.  Presiding Judge Martin said that in the Criminal Division counsel should prioritize cases, with pleas (especially pleas for people already in custody) taking precedence.  He asked that counsel email State’s Attorneys to work out discovery issues, continuance dates and pleas in advance of court appearances.

Presiding Judge Martin said that he expects that each courtroom will hold hearings remotely through Zoom.  The details of how this will be handles have yet to be worked out.  He hopes to get resume bench trials sometime soon.

My understanding from the Northwest Suburban Bar Association meeting is that Rolling Meadows will have 12 courtrooms operating remotely via Zoom.  At this time, t don’t know the details of how this will work in practice, particularly in regards to pro se traffic, domestic and civil matters.

Updates to come as more information becomes available.

Update on May 22:  I have been contacted by an Assistant State’s Attorney who works at the Daley Center in Chicago.  He advised me that for the first two weeks of June, the Court will be only hearing cases where the Defendant is expected to enter a guilty plea.  He requested that if I had any such cases, that I should provide him with the information in advance so that the court hearing could be scheduled.  It will be conducted remotely through Zoom.  If you are an attorney who has such a case, contact me and I will forward you the ASA’s contacct information.

Lake County (IL) Judge diagnosed with COVID-19

Chief Judge Diane Winter has announced that a Lake County Judge, who was handling bond court in courtroom T-110 the week of April 27th has been diagnosed with COVID-19.  He was last on the bench on May 1st.  Chief Judge Winter’s announcement claims that all court officers who were in that courtroom have been notified, but I have heard from two private attorneys who so far have not.

Here is the announcement:

Lake County Judge COVID19

Lake County, IL extends COVID19 court closure until after Fourth of July

Lake County, Illinois has extended its court closure, extending it until July 6th for traffic and misdemeanor cases – more than a month longer than the current closures in Cook and DuPage Counties.

Here is a link to the courts’ order: http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/DocumentCenter/View/2805/AO-20-29-Amended-COVID-19-Extension-to-5-29-final?fbclid=IwAR3hxSf2LpbwyGY-517YB7H3-TW7nb3BOb_RiCdOJzTI04jfAduSDHr14Xs