McHenry County courthouse moves more online amid COVID-19 resurgence

Appearances for McHenry County family and traffic matters, excluding bench trials, will be remote only beginning Tuesday, while many other cases will receive continuances.

In an effort to reduce foot traffic through the Michael J. Sullivan Judicial Center in Woodstock, the court administration office has arranged for all traffic appearances in Courtroom 102 to happen remotely using Zoom.

Remote traffic court will begin at
8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily. The Zoom link to Courtroom 102 can be found online at https://zoom.us/my/mchenrycourtroom102.

Bench trials will continue in person as usual, according to a news release issued Wednesday. Litigants must appear in person for traffic bench trials that are scheduled daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Additionally, effective Tuesday, any pending matters or matters to be scheduled in the family division – typically held in Courtrooms 359, 360, 361 and 365 – will be heard remotely via Zoom.

Anyone filing an emergency pleading has the option to present their matter in person, but they are strongly encouraged to appear remotely, according to the release.

Additional information regarding remote court appearances can be found on the McHenry County Circuit Clerk of the Courts website.

Orders of protection may be addressed in person or remotely. Information about obtaining an order of protection, including the steps for using Zoom, are available online.

Any criminal cases set for status, plea or hearing on a petition to revoke in Courtrooms 104, 301 or 303 will be continued to a new date.

Although in-court appearances for defendants and attorneys are waived from Monday through Dec. 31, appearances may be made on those dates via Zoom for those courtrooms where remote appearances are available.

Cases set for a bench trial or evidentiary hearing, excluding hearings on petitions to revoke, will proceed as previously scheduled, and in-person court appearances are required, according to the release.

Anyone with pending matters at the Woodstock courthouse should check the McHenry County circuit clerk's office website and speak with their attorney to determine their next court date.

“The circuit court recognizes certain cases must see finality on a timely basis, but that with the coronavirus, finality must be achieved in a safe manner for the benefit of all,” according to the release.

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.