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May 21, 2016

New Trial Setting Call System replaces Black Line Call in Cook County Courts


Law division cases will now be scheduled for a trial setting date in courtroom 2005 either 15 months or 28 months from the date filed. All litigants will receive postcard notice of such hearings. The new system is explained in the following order from the new Law Division Presiding Judge. This Trial Setting Call system replaces the unconstitutional Black Line Call System.

STATE OF ILLINOIS           )
)  SS
COUNTY OF COOK            )

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS LAW DIVISION

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 16-2 TRIAL SETTING CALL

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: Effective April  1 , 2016, the Black Line Call currently heard in Courtroom 2006 will be replaced by a Trial Setting Call, that will also be heard in Courtroom 2006.

I.  The following Law Division Black Line Call General Administrative Orders are hereby vacated: 03-1, 04-2, 05-1, 05-2 and 06-1.

II.  Law Division Master Calendar System:

A. Cases included in the Master Calendar System:

  1.   All cases currently assigned to the Motion Calendar Section of the Law Division as designated by the Presiding Judge of the Law Division.

B. Cases excluded from the Master Calendar System:

  1.   All cases currently assigned to the Individual General Calendar Section, Individual Commercial Calendar Section, or the Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies Section of the Law Division, unless designated by specific order.

C.  The Master Calendar System consists of the following:

  1.   Motion Calendars as designated by the Presiding Judge of the Law
  2.   (Courtroom 2006) Trial Setting
  3.   (Courtroom 2005) Trial Call, Trial Setting Status Call, Prove-up Call and Motion Calls.
  4.   Trial Rooms as designated by the Presiding Judge of the Law Division.

Ill.      This General Administrative Order will apply to all cases currently assigned to the Law Divisions Master Calendar System and all cases filed in the future assigned to the Master Calendar System as designated by the Presiding Judge of the Law Division.

IV.     Master Calendar Case Designations:

A.  Category 1 Case Type: All cases assigned to the Master Calendar excluding: Medical Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Product Liability and Construction

  1.   Trial Setting Date will be approximately 15 months from the filing date of the
  2.   Trial Setting Date: Electronic or postcard notice will be sent by the Clerk of the Circuit Court to all parties of record or pro se litigants approximately twelve (12)months from the filing date of the
  3.   Trial Setting Date will be approximately 90 days from the date electronic or postcard notice is sent out.

B.  Category 2 Case Type: Medical Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Product Liability  and Construction Injury

  1.   Trial Setting Date will be approximately 28 months from the filing date of the lawsuit.
  2.   Trial Setting Date: Electronic or postcard notice will be sent by the Clerk of the Circuit Court to all parties of record or pro se litigants approximately twenty-four {24) months from the filing date of the Lawsuit.
  3.   Trial Setting Date will be approximately 120 days from the date electronic or postcard notice is sent out.

V.  All cases appearing on the Trial Setting Call will receive Trial All parties should discuss, prior to appearing for Trial Setting, reasonable Trial Dates to suggest to the Court on the Trial Setting Date.

VI.  Motion Procedure for Master Calendar Cases:

A. The assigned Motion Judge will address all discovery issues and hear all motions excluding motions to continue a trial, motions to vacate, alter, modify, or reconsider orders entered in Courtroom 2005 or 2006 and those motions that must be presented to the Presiding Judge of the Law Division by Circuit Court General Order. These excluded motions should be presented on the appropriate Courtroom 2005 Motion Call.

B.  All motions to continue trial on a case assigned to the Master Calendar Section must be presented to the Presiding Judge of the Law Division or his or her designee on the appropriate Courtroom 2005 motion call. Motion Judges may not set or continue a case for trial.

C.  If all discovery is complete and pending motions ruled upon, the assigned Motion Judge shall enter a Trial Certification This order shall be entered prior to any assigned trial date. If the certified case has no assigned trial date, the case shall be placed on the Trial Setting Status Call in Court room 2005, fourteen (l 4) days from the entry date, for the attorneys to appear and receive a trial date. Failure to have a trial certification order entered will not serve as a basis to continue the trial date.

D.  If at any time All Parties Agree that their case is ready for trial they may present a motion in Courtroom 2005 for Immediate Trial Assignment and the case will be assigned by random computer assignment for the trial to begin

VII. The Transition from the Black Line Trial Call to the Trial Setting Call:

A.  Commencing April I , 2016, Master Calendar Cases will no longer enter the Black Line Pool of

B.  Cases will no longer be categorized or re-categorized, removed from the Black Line Pool or re-sequences within the Black Line

C.  The Black Line Call will continue in Courtroom 2006, until all cases currently in the Black Line Pool have been assigned a trial

D. Cases not currently in the Black Line Pool will be identified as Transition

  1.  The Transition Trial Setting Call shall be conducted from May l, 2016 through July 31, 2016, in Courtroom 2006, with the oldest cases appearing first.
  2. The cases identified for transition will begin appearing in Courtroom 2006 at a rate approximately 60 per day for Trial
  3. Electronic or postcard notice will be sent out to attorneys and all pro se litigants to appear in Courtroom 2006 on the Transition Trial Setting Call, at least thirty (30) days prior to the court
  4. Parties shall be assigned a trial date on the Transition Trial Setting Call, and should discuss an agreed upon trial date, prior to their appearance on the Transition Trial Setting
  5. Effective July 31, 2016, the transition process shall be

VIII. Trial Setting Call

A. Effective August 1, 2016, the Trial Setting Call will commence in Courtroom 2006 with up to thirty (30) cases appearing per day, based on case type and filing

IX.  Nothing in this order will limit the inherent power and discretion of any Judge to enter an order the Judge feels is

It is further ordered that this Order be spread upon the records of this Court.

Dated at Chicago, Illinois this 23rd day of March, 20 1 6.

Honorable James P. Flannery Jr.

Presiding Judge Law Division

August 25, 2015

Sample appeal – Illinois small claims court – landlord steals items


Small claims court can be frustrating when judges look down on pro se plaintiffs and simply rubber stamp everything the defendant’s lawyer states.  This is a sample appeal of such an unjust ruling where the plaintiff lost due to I believe purposeful misconduct of an attorney and a judge. Read the Appellant’s brief here.

Note that appeals are not like trials. The Appellate Court may ONLY consider information on the record on appeal and in the transcripts. YOU CAN NOT ADD new evidence or information. Therefore, at trial in the local court, make a list and make sure you have all your witnesses and evidence or you won’t be able to add it later.  If the judge refuses to hear a witness or allow you to introduce evidence, then ask the judge to “make an offer of proof” (i.e. to have the  person testify or admit the evidence without it being considered just so that it is on the record). If you anticipate this will be a problem, then file the evidence or affidavit instead of as a motion, label it an “offer of proof” and file it in your case attached to this “offer of proof” where you state you are filing this offer of proof and why you are doing so.

The litigants names and case number were changed so they remain anonymous, except for the name of the corrupt landlord’s corporation and the judge.

Remember, in small claims, Illinois Supreme Court Rules 286(b) allows a small claims court to hear and view all relevant evidence, admit evidence with more relaxed rules of procedure and rules of evidence upon order of the court. This means the court may allow affidavits as evidence and not require the presence of a witness and may allow documents to be admitted without strict rules of authentication.

You must follow strictly all appeal rules, so don’t forget to read Illinois Supreme Court Rules for civil appeals and your local court rules also. Illinois Supreme Court Rules are here. If you don’t follow them, your appeal will be rejected.

Note strict rules such as:

  • 1 1/2 inch margin on left
  • requirement of certification page stating you followed the rules as to page limits
  • you use an appendix and not exhibits
  • the appendix must include an index to the record on appeal and the transcripts (if any), that the page number of testimony of specific witnesses must be indexed and that if you did not have a court reporter and made a “bystander’s report” instead that it is also in index, a copy of the order appealed from, and a copy of the notice of appeal
  • notice of filing and service and filing of record on appeal or record of proceedings (transcripts)
  • don’t forget to include your $50 filing fee or a petition for indigency (see Illinois Supreme Court web site and your local appellate court division’s rules)
  • bind the appeal brief securely on the left side (three staples is OK)

Note that you can not just make conclusory statements (“They ripped me off”).  You must back up all your statements, documents, testimony with evidence (testimony by witnesses, documents and reference to “authorities”), with case law (where a court has interpreted a law and said this is how the rules or statutes work and what they mean), or back it up with reference to other authorities (statutes, supreme court rule, administrative rules – note statutes are sent to administrative rules committee and then an administrative rule is made – many pro se litigants are not aware of this – see here; there are similar administrative rules in federal law and all state laws).

August 5, 2015

Sample of Illinois Petition for Leave to Appeal & Petition to Appeal as a Right in Illinois Supreme Court


The Illinois Supreme Court is a real stickler for details. You MUST follow their rules. Rules for civil appeals. Rules for criminal appeals.

Appeals are a difficult nut to crack. Remember that every statement you make must be backed up by reference to where it is on the record, to case law, or to statute, rule, code, or administrative regulation. You should not make arguments that you have not backed-up in this manner. Do not make conclusions of fact or law in your argument that are not backed-up. Also remember that you CANNOT add evidence or use hearsay. You can ONLY APPEAL THAT WHICH IS ALREADY ON THE RECORD (in the record of proceedings = transcripts, or in the record on appeal = court file). If you did not preserve the issue for review = keep it on the record, object at the trial, in the post-trial motions, and on appeal, you cannot argue it.  There are VERY FEW issues that are not subject to the requirement to “preserve the issue for review”. This is a complex topic that you should read a bit about before writing your appeal.

Feel free to use this petition for appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court that was recently submitted. (I’ve changed the names and case numbers for privacy purposes). Read both the petition and the appendix to petition which has attached a blank court order that must be included, although you do not have to give them 20 copies of the order, just one.

I am not an attorney, just a paralegal, so if you use this petition as an example to follow, you do so at your own risk and should check the Illinois Supreme Court Rules for appeals, as well as with an attorney before you sign and submit your petition. There may be errors here that I have not caught.

Remember you have to pay a $50 filing fee as fee was recently raised so include a check or a petition for waiver of fees due to indigence.

You must sent an original and 19 copies of petition plus appendix, plus a stamped envelope and extra copy if you want the clerk to return a date-stamped copy.

Typeface must be 12-point or larger EVEN IN FOOTNOTES.

Page limit is 20 excluding cover sheet, affidavit of compliance with page limits, and notice of filing, although if you call the clerk, they may say that the signature or one sentence extra on 21st page is OK.

The margins must be 1 1/2 inches on the left and 1 inch on all other sides.

The document must be securely bound along the left side, not with just one staple. Three staples are OK.

You must discuss the standard of review for each point in your argument – de novo = only issues of law; abuse of discretion would include issues of fact, but this is a bit complicated so do some research on standard of review for your type of issue.

Appeal is a a right if the issues are issues of first impression, which means that they involve laws that have never before been interpreted by the Illinois Supreme Court = there is no previous opinion on an issue which is similar (i.e. “on point” with your issue).

November 28, 2014

Why grand juries and trials so easily fixed and manipulated by attorneys


What is a grand jury, how does it work, and what is it’s purpose?

A grand jury is a group of citizens brought together to consider evidence in order to determine only one thing – Is there probable cause to charge a person with a crime? It is supposed to be a safeguard against the state bringing outrageous charges against innocent people for the purpose of harassment, but it has turned into a joke as the jurors don’t understand what they are doing, what they can do, the purpose of the grand jury, and how grand juries are manipulated which is clearly and in great detail explained in the link to an article available on line in this post.

Probable cause is not proof of innocence or guilt. It is just evidence that may be hearsay or untrue, suggesting a person committed a crime. It has to include all the elements of a crime. (For example: Elements of trespass to state supported land are that a person was told to leave and did not and that their actions interrupted a citizen’s use of services in the state owned building.)

Probable cause evidence is presented to the grand jury solely by the prosecutor in a closed secret hearing. Usually the defendant is not called as a witness nor is he or she aware that a grand jury has been called in their  case and only the most minimal amount of evidence, including hearsay allegations without proof, are presented to the grand jury.

The grand jury has the right to call witnesses and question witnesses, but they never do, as they are urged to work quickly, usually hearing a case in a minute or two at the most and their instructions are rarely explained to them in a clear unhurried fashion.

The defense has no rights in a grand jury, except that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecutor may not strike foul blows by giving knowingly false information or exluding such overwhelming exculpatory evidence that there is no way a grand jury would find probable cause. (Like excluding the video in the Garner case).

There is no double jeopardy with a grand jury.  That means the prosecutor may call a new grand jury and try to get an indictment again, as long as it is within the statute of limitations for the crime.

This article explains in great detail why confirmatory bias taints particularly one-sided presentations like the Brown case to the grand jury, as well as trials if they are not extremely fair, and even if they are “fair.” One of the most striking findings in emotional cases is that the jury remembers what is said first no matter what else is said and may blank out all other testimony. There are psychological reasons for this fact.

This is why grand juries must be given evidence only by special prosecutors when the defendants are people who the state’s attorney interacts with daily – like police & judges. This is why police are almost never successfully indicted. Read it carefully. Think of laws that must be changed in order to firmly control this bias. 

Click here to read article: Memo of Law – Confirmatory Bias

SUMMARY OF ARTICLE

Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, or prioritize information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations)

September 25, 2014

1203 Motions to Reconsider within 30 days of judgment

Filed under: Circuit Court of Cook County, Court Procedure, Motions to Reconsider — Linda Shelton @ 11:12 am

NOTE: 1203 is an Illinois statute about motion to reconsider within 30 days of a court order. It does not apply to an appeal or a federal court. You have to look up each court’s rules and state statutes to find how that level of state or federal court requires certain procedures, deadlines, etc., in regard to motions to reconsider.

In Illinois Motions to Reconsider an order filed within 30 days are called 1203 motions. These motions automatically stay the judgment. However, collateral issues will continue to be heard and ruled upon or issues not appealed can still be continued and enforced.

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules on motions, service of pleadings, etc. are fairly clear. If you don’t understand a particular rule or statute, please feel free to ask and explain what part of it you don’t understand. As you probably know, motions generally start with with a request (NOW COMES John Doe, who respectfully requests XXXXX and in support of states as follows:);then a statement of jurisdiction (This is a 1203 motion XXXXX where John Doe requests the Court to reconsider a motion which ordered XXXX on 1/1/2012.); then a statement of the facts; then an argument with each statement backed up by facts and authorities; then a prayer for relief (this is an end statement such as: Wherefore, John Doe requests the court to reconsider the motion dated 1/1/2012 due to the following reasons XXXX, described in detailed in this motion) See- 735 ILCS 5/2-601-623 REMEMBER – IL is a FACT-PLEADING state. If you don’t know what that means, then ask. That is the main reason motions are dismissed. The federal court is not fact pleading.

NOTE: Also pro se’s make errors by not backing up each and every statement with facts and authorities as required by Illinois Motion Statute (case law, statutes, supreme court rules, administrative rules, etc). Just making a conclusory statement is not enough to back up the reason for making a motion.

735 ILCS 5/2-615. Motions with respect to pleadings. (a) All objections to pleadings shall be raised by motion. The motion shall point out specifically the defects complained of, and shall ask for appropriate relief, such as: that a pleading or portion thereof be stricken because substantially insufficient in law, or that the action be dismissed, or that a pleading be made more definite and certain in a specified particular, or that designated immaterial matter be stricken out, or that necessary parties be added, or that designated misjoined parties be dismissed, and so forth.

(b) If a pleading or a division thereof is objected to by a motion to dismiss or for judgment or to strike out the pleading, because it is substantially insufficient in law, the motion must specify wherein the pleading or division thereof is insufficient.

(c) Upon motions based upon defects in pleadings, substantial defects in prior pleadings may be considered.

(d) After rulings on motions, the court may enter appropriate orders either to permit or require pleading over or amending or to terminate the litigation in whole or in part.

(e) Any party may seasonably move for judgment on the pleadings.

______________

ISCR -Rule 104. Service of Pleadings and Other Papers; Filing

(a) Delivery of Copy of Complaint. Every copy of a summons used in making service shall have attached thereto a copy of the complaint, which shall be furnished by plaintiff.

(b) Filing of Papers Documents and Proof of Service. Pleadings subsequent to the complaint, written motions, and other papers documents required to be filed shall be filed with the clerk with a certificate of counsel or other proof that copies have been served on all parties [an affidavit] who have appeared and have not theretofore been found by the court to be in default for failure to plead.

________________

Rule 137. Signing of Pleadings, Motions and Other Documents—Sanctions

(a) Signature requirement/certification. Every pleading, motion and other document of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading, motion, or other document and state his address. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit.

_____________

Rule 274. Multiple Final Orders and Postjudgment Motion

A party may make only one postjudgment motion [1203 motion to reconsider] directed at a judgment order that is otherwise final. If a final judgment order is modified pursuant to a postjudgment motion, or if a different final judgment or order is subsequently entered, any party affected by the order may make one postjudgment motion directed at the superseding judgment or order. Until disposed, each timely postjudgment motion shall toll the finality and appealability of the judgment or order at which it is directed. The pendency of a Rule 137 claim does not affect the time in which postjudgment motions directed at final underlying judgments or orders must be filed, but may toll the appealability of the judgment under Rule 303(a)(1). A postjudgment motion directed at a final order on a Rule 137 claim is also subject to this rule.

Adopted October 14, 2005.

__________________

 

The decision of whether to grant a motion to reconsider rests within the discretion of the circuit court and will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion. A.M. Realty Western, LLC v. MSMC Realty, LLC, 2012 IL App (1st) 121183, ¶ 38

The purpose of a motion to reconsider is to allow a party to bring to the court’s attention newly discovered evidence, changes in the law, or errors in the court’s previous application of existing law. Compton v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., 382 Ill. App. 3d 323, 331 (2008). [emphasis added]

NOTE: The purpose is not to re-argue what you have already argued. There must be new evidence that previously was not discovered, changes in the law, or errors in the court’s previous application of existing law, including the court mis-quoting a brief or making factual errors in their argument that are contradicted by the brief.

The following is a quote from the Illinois Supreme Court explaining about 1203 motions with citations.

*** the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2–1203 (West 2006)). Section 2–1203 provides as follows:
“Motions after judgment in non-jury cases. (a) In all cases tried without a jury, any party may, within 30 days after the entry of the judgment or within any further time the court may allow within the 30 days or any extensions thereof, file a motion for a rehearing, or a retrial, or modification of the judgment or to vacate the judgment or for other relief. (b) A motion filed in apt time stays enforcement of the judgment.” 735 ILCS 5/2–1203 (West 2006).

One purpose of a section 2–1203 postjudgment motion is to alert the circuit court to errors it has made and to afford an opportunity for their correction. See In re Marriage of King, 336 Ill. App. 3d 83, 87 (2002); Federal Kemper Life Assurance Co. v. Eichwedel, 266 Ill. App. 3d 88, 98-99 (1994); Regas v. Associated Radiologists, Ltd., 230 Ill. App. 3d 959, 967 (1992). Another recognized purpose of a section 2–1203 motion is to bring to the court’s attention newly discovered evidence which was not available at the time of trial, changes in the law, or errors in the court’s previous application of existing law. See Korogluyan v. Chicago Title & Trust Co., 213 Ill. App. 3d 622, 627 (1991); Kaiser v. MEPC American Properties, Inc., 164 Ill. App. 3d 978, 987 (1987). Information cognizable under a section 2–1203 motion includes actions taken by other courts. See, e.g., Federal Kemper Life, 266 Ill. App. 3d at 98-99 (affirming circuit court’s grant of section 2–1203 motion to vacate judgment and consolidate action with another case based on being informed of other judge’s rulings). The motion is addressed to the circuit court’s sound discretion. Whether a trial court has abused its discretion turns on whether the court’s refusal to vacate violates the moving party’s right to fundamental justice and manifests an improper application of discretion. See In re Marriage of King, 336 Ill. App. 3d at 87 (and cases cited therein); Federal Kemper Life, 266 Ill. App. 3d at 98-99 (and cases cited therein). Relevant here, section 2–1203 makes no distinction between those judgments entered before an appeal and those entered after an appeal. [(Il. Supreme Ct. 2007)]

THE FOLLOWING IS THE ILLINOIS STATUTE FOR MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER FILED WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE ORDER:

735 ILCS 5/2-1203. Motions after judgment in non-jury cases. 

(a) In all cases tried without a jury, any party may, within 30 days after the entry of the judgment or within any further time the court may allow within the 30 days or any extensions thereof, file a motion for a rehearing, or a retrial, or modification of the judgment or to vacate the judgment or for other relief.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of Section 413 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a motion filed in apt time stays enforcement of the judgment except that a judgment granting injunctive or declaratory relief shall be stayed only by a court order that follows a separate application that sets forth just cause for staying the enforcement.

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