Update: Kane County Courthouse to scale back most cases until Mid-April

From Kane County Court:

For Immediate Release Date:

March 16, 2020

Kane County Court Operations Scaled Back Due to Coronavirus

Clint Hull, Chief Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in Kane County, has ordered that most criminal and civil cases be continued to dates after April 17, 2020. This decision was made in order to protect the health and safety of the general public and courthouse employees and made after consultation with the Presiding Judges and offices of the County Board, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, Court Services, Circuit Clerk, and representatives of the private bar.

The Kane County Courthouse (100 South Third Street, Geneva), Kane County Judicial Center (37W777 Route 38, St. Charles), and Kane County Juvenile Justice Center (37W655 Route 38, St. Charles) will remain open to hear those cases deemed essential and any emergency motions. Essential cases include but are not limited to in-custody criminal cases, order of protection hearings, juvenile delinquency, juvenile abuse and neglect, and emergency matters.

The Aurora Branch Court (1200 East Indian Trial Road, Aurora), Elgin Branch Court (150 Dexter Court, Elgin), and Kane County Branch Court (530 S. Randall Road, St. Charles) will be closed through Friday, April 17, and re-open Monday, April 20, 2020. All bond call matters that were previously heard at the Aurora and Elgin Branch Courts will be heard at the Kane County Judicial Center until April 20, 2020.

Courts take action to prevent spread of Coronavirus

As I sat in court the other day, in a packed courtroom filled with coughing and sneezing people (including myself and the judge), I received a message from another attorney that there was a rumor spreading about a member of the bench being diagnosed with COVID-19.  This rumor is still unconfirmed, but still, the idea that the courts would remain open in the midst of this spreading pandemic, was quite aggravating.  People feel compelled to appear in court, to avoid a warrant, a default judgment, having their case dismissed or some other bad legal outcome, and keeping the courts open means that those people will feel the need to come to court.  Some of them (perhaps unknowingly) will have the virus, and others will catch the virus, and then spread it throughout the rest of our community at large.  It is for these reasons that health experts have implored authorities to shut down large gatherings.

Even with our schools and major sports leagues shutting down, courts were still punishing people for failing to appear.  On Friday, I sat in a Chicago misdemeanor courtroom where a judge was issuing warrants.

Finally, some action has been taken.  Cook County has announced that it will suspend most court activities beginning Tuesday March 17th, through April 15th.

From Chief Judge Timothy Evans:

Many criminal and civil cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County will be postponed for a 30-day period starting Tuesday (March 17) due to the spread of the coronavirus, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced today.

Court operations will proceed as scheduled on Monday (March 16). The 30-day period runs from March 17 through April 15….

No jury trials in criminal or civil matters will begin in the 30 days. Individuals who have been summoned to jury duty from March 17 through April 15 should not report for jury duty. They will receive a new date for service.

Grand jury proceedings will continue during the 30 days, and the proceedings may be held in courtrooms to provide more space and distance between people. Individuals who are currently serving in grand jury proceedings must report to court.

For all adult criminal cases, all trials and many hearings scheduled for the 30 days are postponed to a future date. Hearings that will proceed in the 30 days include bail hearings, arraignments and preliminary hearings. In addition, defendants may continue to enter into plea agreements to conclude their case. Any pretrial defendant may also request a bail review during this time.

In addition, for the 30 days, low-risk 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 either via video conferencing or phone conversation. Clients deemed high-risk will still be required to report to their probation officers in person.

All traffic and misdemeanor matters scheduled in the 30 days are postponed to a future date.

For delinquency and criminal proceedings involving juveniles, the only matters that will occur during the 30 days are demands for trial 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 allegedly 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). Emergency petitions may also be filed in child-support matters.

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

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.

For the 30 days, all courthouse Children’s Rooms will be closed. Individuals who have court business should not bring children to court.

After marriage ceremonies conclude Monday, March 16, judges will not perform marriage ceremonies during the 30-day period.

Though there will be fewer cases, all courthouses will remain open for the 30 days. Court employees who do not need to be in a courtroom or office will be encouraged to work remotely during this time.

In addition, Lake County has announced that it will close the Park City and Mundelein field courts on Thursday, March 19th and Friday March 20th, and Kane County has announced that it will close its branch courts beginning Monday March 16th through March 27th.  Their main courthouses in Waukegan and St. Charles remain open.  No word yet from DuPage County.

I will update this as news becomes available.

Kane County to hold “No Refusal” DUI Enforcement Wednesday Nov. 27

From the Daily Herald:

Kane County prosecutors will work with police to hold a No Refusal DUI event on Nov. 27, also known as “Black Wednesday” and one of the biggest party days of the year.

State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said this will be the sixth patrol held the day before Thanksgiving. The goal is not to make arrests, he said, but to encourage people to take alternative transportation if out celebrating…

A No Refusal is different from a roadside safety checkpoint at which police pull over selected vehicles to look for equipment and insurance violations or impaired drivers.

In No Refusal, prosecutors fan out across the county to work with police departments to prepare a search warrant for drivers arrested on charges of DUI who refuse to take a breath or chemical test.

The search warrant is taken to a judge for approval for a phlebotomist to take a blood sample. If the arrestee still refuses, a sample can be forcibly taken or the motorist charged with felony obstruction of justice, which is more severe that the DUI charge.

Courts to be closed due to sub-zero weather

Cook County has announced that courts will be closed Wednesday, January 30, 2019 and Thursday, January 31, 2019 due to expected sub-zero degree temperatures.  The only exception will be bond court at 26th Street and 555 W. Harrison.

This link will take you to Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ order, which includes information concerning rescheduled court dates.

Other courts have officially announced that they will be closed Wednesday, including the Federal Court in Chicago and state courts in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties.  You can find information about court closures here:  http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/

 

Kane County will have a “no-refusal” Black Wednesday

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From the Daily Herald:

Kane County will hold another “No Refusal” anti-drunk driving event Wednesday night, commonly referred to as “Black Wednesday.”

State’s Attorney Joe McMahon announced the event well in advance so people can arrange safe transportation if they are going to be out on what is considered by many as the biggest party night of the year.

“The night before Thanksgiving is a day we have selected a number of times,” McMahon said. “That tends to be a night where there is a lot of drinking and driving, unfortunately.”

During a “No Refusal” night, a judge and phlebotomist are on call as officers patrol for intoxicated drivers. If a person arrested on drunken driving charges refuses a breath or chemical test, police work with a prosecutor and ask a judge for a search warrant to get a chemical test.

Expediting the process can help authorities get a blood-alcohol concentration result before a driver sobers up. If a driver refuses, the sample may be taken by force and the driver could be charged with felony obstruction of justice.

Kane County to end Electronic Home Monitoring

Oddly enough, at the same time that Cook County has been embracing Electronic Home Monitoring as a way to reduce its jail population, Kane County is taking the opposite tack.

From the Daily Herald:

Kane County has begun dismantling its electronic monitoring program that keeps tabs on criminal defendants who are not in jail, after the county board this week preliminarily approved a 2018 budget that cut all funding for the program.

Judges in the felony courtrooms Friday were telling defendants the electronic monitoring is no longer available, even though the new fiscal year doesn’t begin until Dec. 1.

Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles told the board’s judicial and public safety committee Thursday that Court Services is also notifying all program participants, by mail, that they will have a hearing in the next 30 to 45 days to review the conditions of their bonds. Their monitoring devices will be removed at those hearings, she said. By Jan. 1, Court Services hopes to have collected all the monitors and shipped them back to the company that does the monitoring.

Sheriff Don Kramer told the committee he expects as many as 30 of the people could end up being jailed. That would put the jail over capacity, and he would likely have to board inmates at other counties’ jails.

…There are 102 people on electronic home monitoring and 75 on GPS. Of the total, 97 are in the community, and the rest are in jail because they haven’t posted the bond also required in their cases.

Read the entire story here:  http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171013/kane-county-courts-start-dismantling-electronic-monitoring

Arrest of Kane County prosecutor for DUI shows that DUIs can happen to anyone

Often when people come to consult with me about a DUI arrest, they tell me that it is not representative of the type of person that they are.  Many of my clients are highly accomplished people.  I have represented lawyers, doctors, nurses, police officers, sheriffs and many successful business people.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise to see a Kane County State’s Attorney get arrested for DUI.  In fact, just a few years ago a prominent DuPage County prosecutor lost her life while driving intoxicated.

I post this not to embarrass the prosecutor, but to emphasize how common and universal DUIs are.  While there are certainly some defendants who fit the stereotype of an alcoholic whose life has become unmanageable, most DUIs are committed by first offenders who otherwise live productive lives.

From the Daily Herald (story by Susan Sarkauskas):

A Kane County assistant state’s attorney — recently praised as part of a team that handled a murder trial — has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to DuPage County court records.

Kathleen Doyen, 30, was arrested at 12:34 a.m. Aug. 15 in the 600 block of North Avenue (Route 64) by Carol Stream police.

According to court documents, she was charged with DUI; DUI with .08 percent or higher blood-alcohol level; improper lane use; and speeding.

Carol Stream police say she was driving 67 mph in a 45 mph zone and weaving between lanes. She failed an on-the-scene preliminary blood-alcohol test and two field sobriety tests, police said.

At 2:28 a.m. she submitted to a Breathalyzer test, and the blood alcohol content was .165 percent. According to police, Doyen said she had consumed two to three beers and “possibly some mixed drinks” at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Her driver’s license will be placed on a summary suspension for six months, according to a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

Court documents indicated she lived in Chicago, but her driver’s license lists an address near Elgin.

She is due to appear for arraignment at 9 a.m. Sept. 14 at the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton.

She has worked for Kane County since 2011 and is in the criminal division, according to the state’s attorney’s office. When asked about her status, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said, “This is a personnel matter,” and he would not comment further.

Doyen was one of three prosecutors McMahon publicly praised for their work earlier this year in the Shadwick King murder trial. The Geneva man was convicted of murdering his wife in 2014.

• Daily Herald staff writer Justin Kmitch contributed to this story.