SPRINGFIELD – Illinois state courthouses could end social distancing measures and from October 1, defendants could once again claim their right to a speedy trial under new Supreme Court rules of the ‘Illinois.
The court last week issued two orders that essentially overturn rules put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. These rules included suspending rapid trial deadlines, or the number of days after which defendants can demand that prosecutors bring them to justice or that the charges be dropped.
Those deadlines will come into effect again on October 1, when Chief Justice Anne Burke said she was chosen to give circuit court chief justices time to prepare. Decisions on whether or not to relax social distancing rules will be left to local courts, according to the order.
“It is important to note that our courts have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of court proceedings have taken place via in-person and virtual hearings,” said Burke. “However, the conduct of criminal jury trials has been very difficult. These two orders will help our courts prepare for a return to a full list of jury trials.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that some defense attorneys at the Chicago Criminal Courthouse have attempted to formally request a trial on behalf of their clients during the pandemic. But judges ruled the claims lacked bite due to Illinois Supreme Court orders, which were put in place at the start of the pandemic in early 2020.