The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an order allowing circuit courts to return to normal operations beginning June 1, as state officials reported the number of coronavirus deaths rose to 4,525.
In the order, the high court leaves to the chief judges of each of Illinois' 24 judicial circuits to implement plans for reopening based on specific factors. The justices urge social distancing measures remain in place and a way found to reduce the number of people physically present in court facilities.
The Supreme Court on March 17 ordered state judges to limit in-person proceedings to essential cases and delay other matters. The court also ordered the shift of a sizable share of the courts’ business to videoconferencing platforms.
“This directive acknowledges both the successful use of remote hearings during the stay-at-home order and the reality that jurisdictions will need to take the appropriate amount of time to gradually resume holding matters in the courthouse,” the court order states.
In Wednesday's order, the justices said chief judges should consider public health department recommendations, facility and staffing conditions, case deadlines and any prejudice that may result from delays in their normalizing plans.
The justices asserted the plans must ensure individuals feel safe before and after arriving in court. The circuit courts should work with local health authorities to determine screening criteria.