July 28, 2020
The Illinois Judicial Conference (IJC) is pleased to announce the creation of a task force to address the ongoing challenges with resuming court operations through the next phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force (Task Force) is charged with analyzing and making recommendations regarding the continuing challenges for the administration of justice resultant from the pandemic.
"The Illinois Judicial Conference helped established the Court's vision statement to be trusted and open to all by being fair, innovative, diverse, and responsive to changing needs," Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. "That statement looks prophetic after the events of 2020 and this group will help us achieve those goals."
The Task Force will first consider, among other matters: (1) how technology might appropriately be used for jury selection and trials; (2) use of remote proceedings in civil and criminal cases (particularly with regard to assurances of due process); and (3) logistics of maintaining safety for court personnel, litigants and the public.
Recommendations will be expeditiously vetted by the IJC and then forwarded to the Illinois Supreme Court for consideration.
The Chair of the Task Force is J. Timothy Eaton, Partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. The Vice Chair is the Hon. Eugene G. Doherty, Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit. The 12 members of the Task Force are:
- Maryam Ahmad, President, Chicago Bar Association, Chief of the Juvenile Justice Bureau, Cook County State's Attorney's Office
- Tammy Bumgarner, Director, Court Reporting Services
- Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State's Attorney
- John Gallo, CEO and Executive Director, Legal Aid Chicago
- Keith Grant, Public Defender Division Chief, Lake County Public Defender's Office
- Patricia Brown Holmes, Managing Partner, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
- Hon. LeRoy K. Martin Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division, Cook County Circuit Court
- Hon. Amy L. McFarland, Associate Judge, 11th Circuit Court
- Hon. Ramon Ocasio, Circuit Court Judge, Cook County Circuit Court
- Dennis J. Orsey, President, Illinois State Bar Association and Counsel at Dennis J. Orsey, P.C
- Hon. Rena Van Tine, Associate Judge, Cook County Circuit Court
- Hon. Tammy R. Weikert, Circuit Court Clerk, 14th Circuit
Alison Spanner, Director of Strategic Planning for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, is providing staff support to the Task Force.
The IJC is comprised of 29 voting members: 15 judges and 14 non-judges, with the Chief Justice serving as Chair. In October 2019, the IJC unveiled its Strategic Agenda for the Illinois Judicial Branch through the year 2022 and is currently in the implementation phase of this plan. The full strategic agenda and IJC roster are available here.