In COVID-19 move, chief judge spikes most Cook County court activity for a month

Many criminal and civil court cases in Cook County will be put on hold beginning Tuesday until at least Apr. 15 to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak, Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced Friday evening.

No jury trials will begin before mid-April and anyone who has been summoned to report for jury duty on a future date should ignore the notice, Evans said. Trials that are underway will continue.

Evans’s general order encourages non-necessary judges and court employees to work remotely for 30 days, beginning Tuesday. He also ordered the Cook County sheriff to stop all eviction orders “relating to residential real estate” for 30 days effective March 14, according to a copy of the order provided to CWBChicago.

Preliminary criminal hearings, criminal arraignments, plea agreement hearings, temporary child custody hearings, and daily bond court will continue as scheduled, Evans ordered. Marriage ceremonies will also be put on hold after Monday. Grand juries will continue to convene with special health protocols in place and emergency civil filings will be heard, Evans said.

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“Low-rise and medium-risk adults on probation do not need to meet with their probation officer in person” for 30 days, Evans’ office said in a press release.

Courthouses will remain open, Evans said, but guidance will be posted to direct certain people to not enter the facilities, including anyone who has recently traveled to countries that have been hard-hit by the virus and individuals who’ve been in contact with people who’ve traveled to hotspots.

Below is a copy of Evans’ order.

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