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Content May Soon Run Out

What will we write about when all the courts have closed? We are rapidly on the way to finding out, especially in the federal system. Here’s a summary of recent federal district court orders on jury trials: Eastern District of Arkansas: Civil and criminal jury trials scheduled before January 15, 2021 are continued to a later date. District of Colorado: Civil and criminal jury trials scheduled before January 8, 2021 are continued to a later date. Northern District of Illinois: Civil and criminal jury trials suspended indefinitely. Central District of Illinois: Civil and criminal jury trials suspended and shall be reset for a date after January 25, 2021. Southern District of Illinois: Civil and criminal jury trials set through January 24, 2021 are cancelled and will be reset. Northern District of Indiana: All jury trials scheduled to begin before January 29, 2021, are continued and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge “unless the presiding judge, in their...

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Federal Court “Open and Accessible” in Chicago with Trials Suspended Indefinitely

Illinois presently has the largest number of daily new cases of COVID-19. On Friday, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a new general order: All civil and criminal jury trials are suspended indefinitely. All civil hearings will be conducted remotely. No motions will be noticed for presentment. (A feature of Chicago federal practice pre-pandemic was that every motion was presented in person to a judge before full briefing was ordered.) All public gatherings are suspended. Other than that, the Order states, “this Court remains open and accessible.”

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Federal Courts in Illinois and North Dakota Move in Wrong Direction

On Friday, the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois (which includes Peoria, Springfield and Urbana) suspended all civil and criminal jury trials, with trials to be rescheduled by the trial judge to a date after January 25, 2021. The US District Court for the District of North Dakota, meanwhile, rescheduled all the duty trials set for last week to November 30, but it seems doubtful that date will stick. And in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), criminal trials were suspended immediately, with civil trials suspended as of next Monday. All public gatherings at the Chicago courthouse will be suspended as well.

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 McDermott’s litigation team monitors US courts as they reopen amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

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