The updates from the McHenry County regarding the impact of Coronavirus on our court system is available here:
- Administrative Order 2020-11
- Press Release (May 21, 2020)
- Reestablishment Plan, McHenry County (May 21, 2020 following Illinois Supreme Court’s May 20, 2020 Order)
The first, March 23, 2020, order provided:
The Michael J. Sullivan Judicial Center and the 22nd Judicial Circuit remain open, however, the Court continues to only hear emergency matters. If you have a previously scheduled court date, please contact your attorney, or go to the Circuit Clerk of the Court’s website at https://caseinfo.mchenrycountyil.gov in order to see if your case has been rescheduled.
That March 2020 order provided that the court would continue to hold hearings on the following matters:
- Emergency Petitions for Orders of Protection, Stalking, No Contact and subsequent hearings;
- Emergency Petitions for Civil No Contact, and Petitions for Firearm Surrender Order and subsequent hearings;
- Detention hearings for juveniles who are detained;
- Shelter care hearings for juveniles who may have been abused or neglected;
- Summary Suspension Hearings;
- Criminal matters related to the setting and modification of bond;
- Criminal trials with speedy trial demands; and
- Mental health hearings for involuntary commitment or treatment.
It further Please do not attempt to enter the Judicial Center if you have:
- Flu-like symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath;
- Been diagnosed with COVID 19 (or someone close to you has);
- Been directed to quarantine, isolate or self-monitor at home by any medical provider;
- Traveled, within the last 21 days, to any country designated by the CDC as a high-risk locations for COVID-19; or
- Had close contact with anyone who has traveled to any of these high risk locations.
It provides that civil and family law division cases shall use remote access procedures as allowed to obtain a new status or trial date for existing trials through to May 1, 2020 and has now been extended based on Executive Order 2020-22.
McHenry County Family-Law Division Standing Orders.
- Family Division Standing Order 2020-01 (Pretrials)
- Family Division Standing Order 2020-02 (Prove-ups)
- Family Division Standing Order 2020-03 (Summary Hearings).
Following June 1, 2020, these orders remain in place except where there is specific language in the Reestablishment Plan and Order entered May 21, 2020.
The Gitlin Law firm created for our ease of reference pdfs of these standing order that are searchable:
- McHenry County Family Law Division Order 2020-01(Pretrials)
- McHenry County Family Law Division Order 2020-02 (Prove-ups)
- McHenry County Family Law Division Order 2020-03 (Summary Hearings).
- McHenry County Family Law Division Order 2002-04
- Mediator List – Family Division-Current (Updated Mediator List)
- Civil Division Standing Order re Discovery
While the courthouse through to June 1, 2020 has been closed to non-emergency matters generally, lawyers have been able to prove-up their cases, conduct pretrial conferences, have agreed orders entered, and handle summary hearings remotely.
May 21, 2020 Administrative Order:
The May 20, 2020 Administrative Order directs the courts in McHenry County to begin hearing all matters effective June 1, 2020 with certain conditions.
- Wear and Mask and Social Distance: All persons entering the Michael J. Sullivan Judicial Center must wear a mask and maintain six-feet social distancing. Litigants, attorneys or otherwise may only remove the mask by authority of the Presiding Judge.
- Reduced Capacity: Court dates and times will be adjusted to maintain reduced capacity in courtrooms and the courthouse. All involved are directed to the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Reestablishment Plan. Patrons are directed to arrive no more than 15 minutes before a court date.
- Use Virtual / Zoom Court. Lawyers should in any case possible use remote access to the courts including audio and video virtual court sessions. Follow the 22nd Circuit Guidelines for Virtual Courtroom Proceedings. The particular audio or video platform is at the discretion of the judge. (But for family law matters will be Zoom.)
- Necessary Individuals Only. Social distancing results in reduced capacity in courtrooms and the building. Only necessary parties are to attend the proceedings.
- Smooth Entry through Security. Efficiently enter the building bringing only necessary identification and documents for court proceedings. This means where possible avoid coats, bags, backpacks, jewelry, watches, etc, to go smoothly through security.
The press release should be read. It provides in part:
Beginning the week of May 26th, the 22nd Judicial Circuit is launching a pilot project for holding “virtual court.” This initiative is a culmination of work of judges, administrators, Circuit Clerk’s Office and Information Technology professionals and will allow individuals to appear for court on their computer, laptop, mobile device or phone via a video connection. This platform is being tested in traffic cases, small claims and a family courtroom. If successful, virtual hearings may be used throughout the court system.
The press release concludes:
This has been an unprecedented time for the judicial branch of government. However, through the collaborative efforts of many people, departments and agencies, the 22nd Judicial Circuit has continued to provide essential services during this time of crisis. Moving forward the Court will continually evaluate post COVID-19 practices, and if necessary will modify those practices to better serve all court patrons, while ensuring sufficient safeguards are in place.
Livestreaming Your Court Case.
The Gitlin Law Firm has remained open (with social distancing) with Attorney Gunnar J. Gitlin in the office and the lawyers accepting new client interviews via the phone or Zoom with electronic exchange of documents.
Gunnar J. Gitlin