The disruption at Chicago’s federal court will broaden after the chief judge issued a tighter revised order on Monday.
After an initial order last week limiting the federal district court’s functions in Chicago, Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer rolled out additional changes in light of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health against group gatherings while the COVID-19 virus continues to spread.
Under the revised order, all deadlines in all federal civil cases in the Northern District of Illinois are extended by 21 days from their current deadline. People can still file documents electronically in the meantime.
In emergencies, parties can try to set up phone and video conferencing. The previous order recommended judges to conduct non-emergency proceedings by phone or video conferencing “where practicable.”
All civil case hearings, trial and settlement conferences set from March 17 to April 3 are stricken from the calendar, and the presiding judge will reset the matters beginning April 6.
The deadlines for filing appeals remains the same.
All criminal proceedings in Chicago and Rockford will be conducted in Chicago by emergency district judges.
Grand juries will continue to meet this week, but “reasonable limits” on meetings will be imposed after that.
In criminal matters, initial appearances and arraignments will be conducted by video conference where the defendant agrees. Under last week’s order, those proceedings were set to be conducted in person.
All plea hearings, sentencing and hearings on revocation of supervised release scheduled to begin before April 3 are continued, unless the defense, prosecutors or the U.S. probation office notifies the emergency judge that a hearing is needed sooner.
All other criminal hearings are suspended.
The federal trial court’s clerk’s office in Chicago will still be open, but with limited staff.
The order directs parties to send an email message to the emergency judge for emergency matters that come up during business hours over the period of disruption. They are instructed to call (312) 702-8875 for emergency matters outside of business hours.
More information from the court can be found at ilnd.uscourts.gov.