Court Services Division | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts
(217) 524-3072 (Springfield Office)
Nathan Jensen, Assistant Director
The Court Services Division in 2022, composed of the Special Programs Unit, the Recordkeeping and Technology Unit and those efforts directly under the Assistant Director continued their vital work in a diverse and
wide range of activities and projects affecting judges, circuit clerks, court administrators and other components of the judicial branch of government.
The Division is responsible for staffing a variety of Supreme Court committees or boards, including the E-Business Policy Board, The Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law, the Committee on Illinois Evidence, various Judicial Conference task forces, and primary staff to the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges. The Assistant Director serves as the primary staff member for the Supreme Court’s Peer Judge Mentoring and Judicial Performance Evaluation Programs. The Division processes court requests for a judicial assignment outside the original court jurisdiction, as well as requests for the reimbursement of claims for persons subject to the Sexually Violent Person’s Commitment Act. Staff within Court Services frequently interacts and collaborates with several other divisions at the Administrative Office on a wide array of topics of interest to the operations of the Illinois courts, including serving as staff on multiple Standing Committees of the Illinois Judicial College. In 2022, the Court Services Division also provided support for three initiatives under the Strategic Agenda from the Illinois Judicial Conference; first was the development of a remote proceedings rule to encourage use of these hearings to increase access to justice; second was implementing the adopted time standards throughout the state, and lastly, helping analyze and approve the results of the Weighted Caseload Study that took place in early 2022. In 2022, the Assistant Director and the Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator were chosen to act as AOIC staff for a newly formed Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law, a multidisciplinary body charged with recommending improvements to assist older adults.
Throughout 2022, the Special Programs Unit [SPU] staff continued to host monthly meetings and assist the Illinois Judicial College’s Trial Court Administrator Education [TCAE] Committee with development, coordination, and presentation of several professional development webinars for all Trial Court Administrators [TCAs] and other justice stakeholders statewide. The webinar offerings for 2022 included Pretrial Services in Illinois (A Multidisciplinary Overview); Introduction to Weighted Caseload; How to Overcome Language Barriers; and LGBTQ+ Youth and Families in the Juvenile Court System. Additionally, the TCAE Committee went back to hosting its in-person, two-and-a-half-day Court Administration Leadership [CAL] Academy in March 2022. Chief Judges and TCAs convened at the new state-of-the-art Will County Courthouse in Joliet, and COVID-19 testing was provided. The agenda for the CAL Academy included: Human Resources for Court Managers; Assisting Self-Represented Litigants in the New Normal; A Guided Courthouse Tour; Becoming a Culturally Competent Court; Language Access and Interpreters; Socrata Data Tool Demo; a Legislative Update and Disability Rights in the Courthouse. Finally, staff were excited to attend the in-person Illinois Judicial College Annual Meeting in October, which provided opportunities for continued strategic review and facilitated discussions of the Committee’s charge, comprehensive education plan, and curriculum as well as time to get to know other justice partners across the state. SPU staff continued to host and attend various committees, commissions, and other meetings virtually – COVID-19 Leadership Meetings; Committee on Illinois Rules of Evidence; TCAE Committee and workgroups; Mandatory Arbitration Program Administrators and staff; as well as the monthly Statewide TCA Meetings. In addition to reviewing new mediation program submissions for Supreme Court approval, staff is also responsible for gathering and analyzing all statewide mediation data for evictions, civil, custody & visitation, online dispute resolution programs, mortgage foreclosure, child protection, and others. Finally, SPU staff joined the AOIC Wellness Committee, created in June by the Human Resources Division and Scott Block, the AOIC’s first-ever Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator, to assist staff with mental well-being and creating a culture of wellness.
The Recordkeeping & Technology Unit (RTU)
The Recordkeeping & Technology Unit provided an array of guidance and technical support services to courts and circuit clerks in 2022. RTU staff, as members of the Illinois Association of Court Clerk’s (IACC) Oversight Board, continued to work with the IACC in development of educational programs for circuit clerks and their staff, as well as coordinating the New Circuit Clerk Mentor Program. RTU further served as staff and advisors to the Illinois Judicial College Standing Committee on Circuit Court Clerk Education (CCCE), its four workgroups as well as the Oversight Board for Continuing Education. In 2022, the CCCE planned, created, and presented multiple education sessions related to recordkeeping, courthouse safety and security, financial procedures, disposition reporting and forms to circuit court clerks and staff.
The Manual on Fines and Fees, maintained by the RTU, includes more than 300 statutory citations and Supreme Court Rule references regarding the collection and distribution of fines, fees, penalties, restitution, assessments, surcharges, and costs which may be applied to cases in Illinois. Annually, the RTU monitors the filing of the circuit clerks’ financial audits. The Unit compiled and distributed the Applicable Legal Requirements to auditors for their compliance testing and disseminated updated auditing guidelines to county boards and circuit clerks; and provided certified merged jury lists as requested to all 102 counties, as requested. RTU staff also serves as liaison to the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges Ad Hoc Committee on Article V Rules, which provides recommendations of updates to the Article V Rules, Uniform Citation Forms, and Electronic Citation Forms, as may be necessary.
The RTU continue to provide guidance to courts for electronic filing and the Supreme Court’s statewide system called re:SearchIL. RTU staff assist with providing guidance to courts regarding the Remote Access Policy
(RAP) which governs document access over the Internet. In addition to serving as staff support to the Supreme Court eBusiness Policy Advisory Board, the RTU further continues to assist local circuit courts with implementation, facilitates information sharing, and provides detailed and subject matter expertise for all other electronic business programs and data collection.
RTU continues to provide training, assistance, and oversight regarding the Supreme Court’s General Administrative Order on Recordkeeping in the Circuit Courts and instructions in the Manual on Recordkeeping (RKM). The significant updates to the RKM, effective January 1, 2022, included revised statistical reporting, new and revised case types, regrouping of case categories, and defining security access to records based on party types. The updates will improve guidelines for collecting standardized court data with a focus on judicial performance, accurate recording of post-judgment activity, increase transparency, and improve overall court efficiency. The RTU continued to manage and update the Offense Code Table (OFT), which contains the coded listing of all criminal offenses reportable to four recipient state agencies through the Automated Disposition Reporting (ADR) Program. Additionally, RTU staff collected, compiled, and published quarterly and annual statistical information for the 2022 Statistical Summary by the Clerks of the Supreme, Appellate, and Circuit Courts, and other divisions of the Supreme Court and Administrative Office.
RTU provides staff support to the Illinois Judicial Conference Data Standardization Taskforce, Pretrial Implementation Taskforce, Traffic Records Coordinating Committee, Statutory Court Fines and Fees Taskforce as well as interacts with various projects, legislation, workgroups and policies interfacing with circuit courts and clerks.