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Illinois Courts response to COVID-19

Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

State and Federal Courts Host 6-Session Seminar

12/21/2020

State and Federal Courts Host 6-Session Seminar

December 21, 2020

The Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial College and the U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, announced the completion of its annual State & Federal Seminar (Seminar) which engages federal and state judges in lively conversation concerning pressing legal topics. The Seminar took place in the form of six webinar sessions from June through December 2020 and for the first time was held entirely online.

The theme of the 2020 Seminar was Technology and Access to Justice, and each webinar was a lesson on the topic. In addition to Illinois state and federal judges, participants also included national court stakeholders, judges, and academics from across the globe.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and Chief United States District Judge Sara Darrow of the Central District of Illinois introduced the first webinar and provided closing remarks after the final webinar of the Seminar.

“This seminar helps bring the federal and state courts together to share ideas and build on successes,” Chief Justice Burke said. “Collaboration has become even more important as our courts have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The six sessions held were:

June 23, 2020: Lessons Learned from the Bench During COVID-19:

Judges and court administrators discussed their experiences using technology to conduct the business of the Court during the pandemic in the first webinar. Technology and practices which the Courts may want to keep implementing after the pandemic were identified and discussed.

July 16, 2020: Prisoners in Pandemics: Bonds, Sentencing, & Compassionate Release:

 Bonds, sentencing, and compassionate release proceedings during a pandemic were discussed in this webinar, as well as the responsibility of Judges to the public health and safety of prisoners and the community.

August 18, 2020: Virtual Trials – Constitutional and Practical Considerations:

This webinar explored best practices when conducting virtual trials during the pandemic were discussed, with constitutional and practical considerations particular to online bench trials, hearings, and jury trials. Online trials in both Illinois and around the country were looked at and best practices and procedures were identified.

September 29, 2020: Pandemics and Technology: Past, Present, and Future:

This webinar course explored parallels between historical pandemics, including the 1918 flu pandemic, and today in order to learn from major world events that have brought changes in technology and the courts. John Lupton, Director of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Historic Preservation Commission, was among those in the faculty who helped to provide historical context to the pandemic.

October 22, 2020: Remote Courts and Access to Justice:

A panel of international experts (Dr. Natalie Byrom of the Legal Education Foundation, James McMillan of the National Center for State Courts, Professor Judith Resnik of the Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School, and Justice Carl Anthony Walker, First District Appellate Court, serving as moderator) discussed the rapid expansion of remote courts, the impact on court users, and the promise and pitfalls of online courts to achieve equal access to justice for all. They compared the advantages and disadvantages of remote courts in improving access to justice and discussed the technology which can be used to prepare for long-term use in remote courts.

December 2, 2020: Online Courts and the Future of Justice:

The final webinar was an interactive conversation between Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Donnelley and Professor Richard Susskind, author of Online Courts and the Future of Justice, to discuss the rapid expansion of remote courts, the impact on court users, and the promise and pitfalls of online courts as remote hearings have become the new normal for many judges and litigants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All webinar recordings are available on-demand for judges here.