The Illinois Supreme Court recently announced that its September Term will be held in-person in Springfield at the Illinois Supreme Court Building. The Court’s last Term in May was heard remotely via Zoom.
“After lengthy consultations with local health experts and the implementation of extensive safety precautions, we are very excited to be able to host our September Term of Court in Springfield,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said.
There are 17 cases scheduled to be heard during this Term and information on each case can be found here. Oral arguments will begin at 9 a.m. each morning and a livestream for each case will be available on BlueRoomStream.
Safety precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic will be in full use during September Term, including time-specific entrances for visitors, temperature checks, floor markings indicating six-foot distances, limiting the number of individuals in each room, and regular cleaning of surfaces.
Six tempered glass dividers have been placed between each of the seven Supreme Court Justices’ chairs at the bench. Face masks will be required when moving from one location in the building to another, but once safely seated six-feet apart or on the bench with the dividers in place, Justices may remove their masks. Counsel may remove their face mask or covering once socially distanced and masks are not required at the podium during oral argument.
A memorial service for the late Justice Charles Freeman, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in Illinois, will be held on September 16 at 2 p.m. More information on the memorial service including the livestream link, press release and program can be found here.
The two cases to be heard on September 23 will be a part of the traveling oral arguments series that the court has previously held in-person in local jurisdictions. The Court is working with Rock Island schools for students to watch the oral arguments and local public officials are assisting with prepping the students about the cases beforehand. Due to COVID-19, the oral arguments described below will now be livestreamed from Springfield:
Civil Case: Policemen’s Benevolent Labor Committee v. City of Sparta. The issue is whether the police department’s policy for evaluating its officers violates a statute that prohibits municipalities from establishing citation-writing quotas for police officers and prohibits evaluation of officers based on the number of citations written. The police department at issue uses a system of monthly activity points to track its officers’ performance. The officers are awarded activity points based on points of conduct, such as by issuing traffic stop warnings and citations.
Criminal Case: People v. J.M.A. The issue is whether the trial court, when sentencing a juvenile to the Department of Juvenile Justice until his 21st birthday, must make an explicit finding that commitment is the least restrictive alternative available to the minor.