Judge Brett Gilbert and Judge Lori Reisinger of the Champaign County Family Court, Judge Nick Selvaggio of the Champaign County Common Pleas Court, and Judge Gil Weithman, of the Champaign County Municipal Court met over the weekend to further coordinate the local judicial response to the national and state declarations of public health emergency.
All local judges are in agreement that the Champaign County Courthouse and Champaign County Municipal Court will remain open in order to maintain essential court functions and operations. The judges agree that access to the courts must be maintained during this time of crisis and that the rule of law must be available to those aggrieved. Hearings must be held and people must have the opportunity to file required paperwork with the courts.
The judges are also committed, however, to modifying their operations in this time of public emergency. The judges will maximize the use of video technology to reduce transports to and from the jail. The judges will utilize telephone conferences to minimize the number of people coming into the courthouse. The judges will reevaluate the need to keep an inmate confined in the jail. And the judges continue to agree that jury trials will be rescheduled as necessary to avoid the potential for large gatherings of citizens, litigants and trial participants during this health crisis.
Through these modifications, the judges will continue to conduct the court’s business, prioritize public safety and uphold the rule of law while complying with the governor’s mandate to preserve the public health and minimize public gatherings to the extent it can.
Court staff will contact parties if their case will be continued or rescheduled. Otherwise, people should expect that their case will be heard as planned.
The judges encourage people not to go to the courthouse to attend hearings if they are not a party to the case. While wanting to support a loved one is understandable, the judges desire to minimize unnecessary public contacts within the courtrooms. Those choosing to enter the courthouses should be prepared to address screening questions before authorization is granted to access the rest of the building.
The judges are committed to meeting weekly to reevaluate their operations in accordance with the latest public health mandates.
Submitted by Champaign County judges.