The Cook County Court system has reduced services during the pandemic, but some cases are still being heard. An order to limit court matters, entered by Chief Judge Timothy Evans on March 17, has been extended to May 18.
Non-emergency cases like traffic and misdemeanors have been postponed. Pressing issues, such as evictions and foreclosures, will not be entered into court. Jury trials are not taking place, and people with jury duty notices have been instructed not to show up. Civil matters that neither party considers to be an emergency, as well as marriage ceremonies, have been halted.
But the court is still dealing with critical matters. Criminal hearings related to bail hearings, arraignments and preliminary hearings are continuing. Grand juries in session have continued meeting.
Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division, said the Domestic Relations Division “remains accessible to everyone.” Cases related to custody, child support, and emergencies related to children and families are being heard. In her division, judges have been “conducting remote hearings.”
Victims of domestic violence are still able to obtain orders of protection, and the sheriff ’s office is serving civil summons related to orders of protection, juveniles, and probate.
Attorneys are adapting to the new remote environment. Edward Grossman, who normally meets in prison with people accused of violating parole, is now permitted to teleconference and conduct remote hearings with the attorney for the Illinois Department of Corrections.
“We haven’t seen any glitch,” Grossman said. “It’s working more or less
as if we were physically present in the same place.”