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Covid has caused changes to the manner in which proceedings are being handled

Posted on Mar 11, 2021

The most recent administrative order by the Chief Judge has allowed criminal jury trials to proceed.  The protocol in place allows only one jury trial per week.  At this pace we won't be caught up on the backlog of criminal trials for many years.  I'm not sure when our county will be able to conduct more than one jury trial per week but whenever that occurs we can begin getting caught up.  Currently, docket calls are attorneys only.  This means no clients will attend unless previously arranged with the State and Court.  All pleas must be arranged ahead of time. 

Bond heairngs will proceed as normal.  I haven't been asked by family members whether they can attend but would assume that most judges would allow family to attend the proceedings.  The new "pretrial detention" rules don't officially kick in until July 1, 2021 but we are already proceeding in similar fashion.  If a person is charged with a low level felony they are being given recognizance bonds automatically at the time the charge is filed.  This means after processing they are released with only a promise to return to court when they are required. 

Preliminary hearings are being conducted live and remotely via Zoom. I prefer the Zoom waivers as they are much quicker and waste less tine.  Also, they are easier for my out of state clients to attend.  Other hearings like docket calls are being handled remotely in other counties.  Madison County seems to want the attorneys to appear in person for some reason. 

Outlying counties are open for jury trials (except St. Clair County). 

Appeals are being argued remotely for the time being. 


I will update changes to procedure when I receive new information from the Chief Judge.

Brian L. Polinske
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Edwardsville Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer

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