On October 27th, the Supreme Court of Illinois released an order giving permission and guidelines in remote jury selection for civil cases in the time of COVID-19. As jury trials are necessary for the administration of justice in Illinois, it is necessary that jury selection goes forward in a way that minimizes the COVID-19 exposure risk to potential jurors, court personnel, litigants, and the public.
To accomplish this, the court has determined that circuit courts can utilize remote jury selection as long as it is conducted consistent with the constitutional rights of the parties and preserves constitutional public access. This process requires the consent of all parties involved, unless the judge finds, after weighing the factors of public safety and the parties’ rights to access to justice, that the case presents a compelling circumstance to proceed with remote jury selection absent parties’ consent. Both circuit and county courts may apply to the Supreme Court for permission to undertake a pilot project in which remote jury selection could be ordered by the judge without the parties’ consent or a compelling circumstance. The authorization for remote proceedings under Illinois Supreme Court Rules 45 and 241 is temporarily expanded to include remote jury selection for civil trials.
These guidelines have been established by the Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force, and adopted by the Court (herein “Guidelines”) on October 27, 2020, available at http://illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/Remote_Jury_Information.asp