By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – The 17th Circuit Court has postponed all trials in Winnebago and Boone counties until mid-May, Chief Judge Eugene Doherty reported Tuesday.
“We have now been given permission by the Supreme Court to cancel trials and adjust the speedy-trial deadlines accordingly,” the judge said in a release. Because trials involve the presences of multiple people, including parties, lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and the judge, delaying them is a prudent decision to guard against transmission of the virus.”
Doherty said the the court had already reduced its operations to essential matters only.
Trials will resume May 18. Jurors scheduled to report before that date are executed from service.
Jurors Monday, May 18, 2020, you are excused from service. Those serving on grand juries are encouraged to contact their respective state’s attorney’s office to any schedule changes.
Other essential court business is still being conducted in Winnebago and Boone counties.
“The governor’s shelter-in-place order explicitly excludes essential government functions and court personnel,” Doherty said, “and the order further provides that each governmental entity will determine what constitutes its essential functions; we have already taken those steps. The public should be aware that the court continues to receive filings, conduct criminal bond court, and conduct other essential proceedings as necessary, though the location of the hearing may have changed.”