Part 1.00 - Organization

1-1.01 Rules of Court

A.The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit adopts the following Local Court Rules for the conduct, government and management of business, operations, proceedings, and other functions and services of the Court.

B. These Rules shall be applied, construed and enforced so as to avoid inconsistency with other Rules of court and statutes governing proceedings, functions and services of this Court. In their application and administration, they shall be construed and employed so as to provide fairness and simplicity in procedure to avoid delay; and to secure just and expeditious determination of all actions and proceedings.

C. These Rules are promulgated pursuant to Section 5/1-104(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure, providing that the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit may make Rules regulating their dockets, calendars and business, and Supreme Court Rule 21(a), providing that a majority of the Circuit Judges may adopt Rules governing civil and criminal cases consistent with statutes and Supreme Court Rules.

D. These Rules shall become effective on the 24th day of October, 2016, and Rules in effect prior thereto will no longer be in effect. Rules promulgated hereafter become effective on the date of their approval by the Circuit Judges.

E. Any amendment of these Rules shall be passed by a majority vote of all Circuit Judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.

F. All Rules of this Court, and amendments thereto, shall be filed with the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, Springfield, Illinois, within ten days after adoption thereof pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 21. Copies of said Rules and amendments shall be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

G. Any amendments to the Local Court Rules shall contain Chapter, Part, Rule and Section numbers for appropriate placement within the body of the Rules. The Judicial Committee responsible for review of these Rules shall specify the placement of any amendment at the time of the amendment’s adoption. These Rules shall be cited as Chapter, Part, Rule and Section number in the following manner: LCR 1-1.08(B)(1).

H. The law governing the construction of statutes (5 ILCS 70/1, et seq.) shall apply to the construction of these Rules. In the event of any conflict between the content of a Rule and that of an Administrative Order, the Rule shall prevail.

I. These Rules shall apply to all civil and criminal proceedings, unless contained in a Chapter, Part or Rule which limits its application.

J. Any reference in these Rules to “he,” “she,” “his,” or “her” is intended to be gender neutral and shall be construed to apply to each gender.

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1-1.02 Chief Judge

A. The Chief Judge shall be a Circuit Judge elected by a majority of the Circuit Judges within the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit for a term of one year commencing on the 1st Monday of January of each year. The election shall occur on or before the 30th day of June in the year preceding the year that the Chief is to begin his term. The Chief Judge shall serve at the pleasure of the Circuit Judges.

B. The Chief Judge shall be the Chief Judicial Officer of the Circuit and shall be the liaison in all judicial administrative matters. He shall exercise administrative supervision over all courts within the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. The Chief Judge may enter Administrative Orders over his signature, except as otherwise provided by Supreme Court or Local Court Rule. The Chief Judge has at his disposal the Administrative Office of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. This resource shall serve the Chief Judge in carrying out his administrative duties in order for the judicial circuit to best serve the citizenry of Lake County.

C. The Chief Judge shall designate a Circuit Judge to serve as Deputy Chief Judge. The Deputy Chief Judge shall serve in the absence of the Chief Judge or when he is unable to serve. The Deputy Chief Judge shall have the same powers and duties as the Chief Judge when so acting. The Deputy Chief Judge shall attend all meetings of the Presiding Judges and perform such other duties as assigned. 

D. Whenever a vacancy in the office of Chief Judge occurs, any two Circuit Judges may call a meeting of the Circuit Judges for the purpose of electing a Chief Judge to fill the unexpired term of office.

E. The Chief Judge or his designee shall call and impanel Grand and Petit Juries.

F. Non-judicial appointments vested in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit shall be made by the Chief Judge with the approval of a majority of the Circuit Judges.
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1-1.03 Presiding Judge

The Chief Judge may designate such divisions as he, from time to time, deems necessary and may designate a Presiding Judge of each division.
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1-1.04 Judicial Assignments

The Chief Judge shall assign Circuit Judges and Associate Judges to such specific duties and responsibilities as he deems appropriate.

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1-1.05 General Administrative Authority of Chief Judge

The Chief Judge may enter Administrative Orders in the exercise of his general administrative authority, including, but not limited to, orders providing for assignment of Judges, general or specialized divisions, and times and places of holding court. General Administrative Orders that concern the public, courthouse personnel and attorneys as determined by the Chief Judge shall be published, made available on the Court’s website and distributed to the local bar associations. Nothing contained in these Rules is intended to restrict authority vested by law in the Chief Judge.

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1-1.06 Courtroom Personnel

A. A full courtroom staff consists, at a minimum, of a Judge, one courtroom clerk and one court officer. A full courtroom staff shall be maintained at all times unless waived by the Court for good cause.

B. The courtroom clerk shall be the Circuit Clerk or a Deputy Circuit Clerk authorized to swear witnesses. The clerk shall attend court when court is in session unless excused on a case-by-case basis by the Judge presiding in the particular courtroom. The clerk shall obtain all necessary files and docket sheets for cases to be heard that day, swear witnesses, maintain custody of all exhibits upon receipt from the reporter pursuant to LCR 1-1.08, until further Order of Court, and perform such other duties as may be directed by the Court.

C. The court officer shall open and close court, preserve order in the courtroom, attend upon the jury when placed in his custody, and perform such other duties as may be directed by the Court.

D. Court Reporters as needed. See LCR 1-1.08.
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1-1.07 Judicial Meetings

A. The Circuit Judges shall, from time to time, upon call of the Chief Judge, hold meetings to discuss and resolve administrative issues of the Court, including approval of the Local Court Rules, issuance of supplemental Orders, special assignments, uniform practices and any other matter relating to the overall functions of the Court.

B. The Circuit Judges shall meet at least twice each year to discuss and take such action as may be requested in connection with business of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. Such meetings shall include the Associate Judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and invited non-judicial staff or guests.

C. Special meetings may be called at any time by any two Circuit Judges within the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit upon five days’ Notice to all Circuit Judges.

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1-1.08 Court Reporters

A. Only one court reporter shall be used at any one time.

B. The Court will provide court reporters in the following criminal, quasi-criminal, or Juvenile Court proceedings:

1. Jury and bench trials and evidentiary proceedings in felony cases and misdemeanor cases where incarceration may result;

2. All criminal proceedings under Supreme Court Rules 401 and 402 in which a court reporter is required;

3. Felony sentencing hearings and misdemeanor sentencing hearings in which incarceration may result;

4. Post-conviction matters;

5. Juvenile Court proceedings other than reviews, status hearings and hearings set solely to change or to determine dates of future hearings;

6. Indirect criminal contempt proceedings;

7. Any other proceeding required by Supreme Court Rule.

C. The Court will provide court reporters in the following civil proceedings unless the Court directs or authorizes the parties in advance of hearing or trial to provide a private court reporter:

1. Domestic relations prove-ups and pre-judgment trials;

2. Chancery trials, excluding foreclosures and excluding mechanic’s lien and other lien cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed $15,000.00;

3. Jury and bench trials in law division cases;

4. Trials and evidentiary hearings in paternity matters for the determination of parentage;

5. Hearings on petitions for adjudication of disability and for appointment of a guardian of the estate, or person, or both, held in petitions regarding disabled adults pursuant to the Probate Act;

6. Hearings on petitions for involuntary civil commitments and on petitions for discharge following any commitment.

D. Unless ordered by the Court, no court reporter will be provided for the following proceedings:

1. Civil motions and petitions, including without limitation those involving testimony;

2. Voir dire and reading of instructions to the jury in civil cases;

3. Civil bench and jury trials in SC, LM and other cases wherein the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000;

4. Foreclosure proceedings;

5. Mechanic’s lien and other lien cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed $15,000.00;

6. Motions and other issues during jury deliberations, taking of the verdict, and polling of the jury in civil cases and criminal cases in which no incarceration may result;

7. Traffic, misdemeanor, conservation and ordinance cases in which no incarceration may result;

8. Proceedings for the collection or enforcement of Judgments, fines or costs;

9. Probate matters, except as noted under Section C of this Rule;

10. Post-Judgment family court proceedings.

E. Where an official court reporter is not furnished by the Court under Section C and the parties have not been given reasonable notice of the unavailability of an official court reporter, such unavailability shall be grounds for a continuance. In those cases where the Court does not provide an official court reporter under Section D, unavailability of a court reporter shall not be grounds for a continuance.

F. In cases where an official court reporter is not furnished by the Court, parties may employ a private court reporter upon approval of the Court and under the following conditions:

1. The party providing the court reporter shall inform the clerk of the court reporter’s name, address, reporting firm and State of Illinois license number before commencing;

2. The court reporter station in the courtroom shall be used;

3. Any disagreement among the parties concerning qualifications of or which party’s court reporter shall be used shall be presented to the Court for ruling as in all other motions;

4. Such other terms and conditions as the Court deems appropriate;

5. All requests for transcripts shall be addressed to the court reporter in writing, shall specify the portion of the proceedings to be transcribed, and a copy of the request shall be filed by the party requesting it within the court file. If a transcript of all or part of a proceeding is ordered, the party or attorney shall order an original to be filed with the Court and the original shall be filed with the Court by the court reporter before copies are delivered to the parties and the attorneys.

G. This Rule applies in both the case of official court reporters and private court reporters.

H. Assignment of all official court reporters in the circuit is at the discretion of the Chief Judge.

Amended by the Circuit Judges of
the 19th Judicial Circuit on March
20th, 2017, effective immediately.

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1-1.09 Files Present in Courtroom

The Clerk shall have present in Court the files of case matters set on the Court’s call together with such other files as the Judge may direct. Upon request by the Court, the Clerk shall deliver a file, or any part thereof, in any case to one of the courtroom staff.

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1-1.10 Hours of Court and Legal Holidays

A. Unless otherwise directed by the Trial Judge, the hours of Court are 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Courtrooms shall be opened and staffed fifteen minutes prior to the beginning of Court. 

B. The Administrative Office of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit will be open for business from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except Saturday, Sunday and holidays as prescribed annually by Administrative Order.

C. The Office of Clerk of the Circuit Court will be open for business from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except Saturday, Sunday and holidays as prescribed annually by Administrative Order. Upon request of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and upon approval by the Chief Judges, hours may be expanded.

D. The hours of holiday bond court will be established by Administrative Order.

E. The legal holidays of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit shall be those holidays specified by the Chief Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. All matters returnable on legal holidays shall be continued to the next business day of this Court. The time for filing all motions and pleadings shall be extended to the next business day of this Court.

F. Dates upon which court will be closed shall be posted in the courthouse and on the website of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.
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1-1.11 Record Keeping

The Clerk shall assign numbers on all cases filed, in accordance with the Supreme Court Manual on Recordkeeping and such classification designation as may be required by Local Court Rule or Administrative Order of the Chief Judge.
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1-1.12 Documents and Court Files

A. All documents shall be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court pursuant to Supreme Court Rules. Upon presentment to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Clerk shall place a file mark on the first page of each document in the upper right hand corner in the space provided. All pleadings shall include a case caption and number, contain a space at least 2 inches by 2 inches at the upper right portion of the first page for the Clerk’s file mark, shall not contain a backing sheet and, if such pleading contains more than one page, shall be stapled at the upper left corner. Each document, form and exhibit, shall be printed on only one side of each page. The case number shall not be placed in such a position that it will be obliterated by the Clerk’s file mark. The Clerk shall not file a pleading unless accompanied by the proper filing fee, if any.

B. All documents filed or served in any cause shall contain the attorney’s name, address, e-mail address, telephone number and State of Illinois attorney registration number. All documents filed or served in any cause by self-represented litigants shall contain the self-represented litigant’s name, address and telephone number. Additionally, if a self-represented litigant has designated an e-mail address, that e-mail address should be included as well. In the event a law firm is listed, the full name, telephone number and attorney registration number of the attorney with primary responsibility shall be listed.

C. The Clerk is not required to accept for filing any document that does not comply with the Supreme Court Rules or these Rules.

D. No pleading or entry of appearance shall be notarized by any attorney or member or employee of his firm, for an opposing party.

E. Original files, documents or exhibits shall not be removed from the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court or courtroom except by written Order of Court and thereupon the party removing such item shall give the Clerk of the Circuit Court a receipt therefore. Such files, documents or exhibits shall not be retained by the party removing same for more than two days without further leave of Court.
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1-1.13 Court Administration

A. The Chief Judge may promulgate general Rules for court administration.

B. The Chief Judge shall appoint a Court Administrator, who will function as the chief non-judicial officer of the court. In addition to assisting the development and supervision of the Court’s operations, probation, jury, law library, budgeting and personnel systems, the Administrator shall implement the administrative decisions of the Court and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Court.

1-1.14 Records Inspection

A. The following Rules are established pursuant to the authority conferred upon the Chief Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit by the Constitution of the State of Illinois, the directives of 705 ILCS 105/22 requiring that the Judges shall, as often as once in each year, make an examination of the offices of the clerks of their respective courts, and may give such directions and make such Orders in regard to the keeping of the same, and the records and papers thereof, not contrary to law, as they shall deem best, and the inherent authority of the Court to oversee the recordkeeping of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

B. The Chief Judge shall create a committee composed of Judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit for the purpose of examining the recordkeeping and offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.  The committee shall review the recordkeeping, offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and any record or evidence storage facilities and shall make recommendations to the Chief Judge regarding the same.  

C. The “Court record” includes but is not limited to:

1. Any document, information or other item that is filed, docketed, or lodged by a court or Clerk of Court in connection with a judicial proceeding;

2. Any index, calendar, docket, register of actions, official record of the proceedings, Order, Decree, Judgment, minute, and any information in an automated record and/or case management system created by or prepared by the Court or Clerk of Court that is related to a judicial proceeding, including existing case management reports;

3. Any actual or physical evidence presented by the parties in a case;

4. Any writing containing information relating to the conduct or administration of the public’s business, prepared, owned, used or retained by the judicial branch;

5. Any physical record relating to the judicial branch record, including a court record, that exists in physical form, irrespective of whether it also exists in electronic form;

6. Any electronic record representations of text or graphic documents, electronic image, including a video, of a document, exhibit or other items kept and maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court;

7. Any data in the fields or files of an electronic database, records management system (CRIMS) or a case management system;

8. Any audio or visual recording, analog or digital, of an event or notes in an electronic file from which a transcript of an event can be prepared; irrespective of whether it also exists in physical form; and,

9. All records maintained relating to the storage, management, record keeping (both physical and electronic), of the actual or physical evidence relating to matters of this Court.

D. The Chief Judge may periodically enter Orders or give directions to the Clerk of the Circuit Court regarding the keeping, maintenance and storage of the court records and any facilities in which court records and evidence are maintained or stored.
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1-1.15 County Law Library

The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit shall have and maintain a Law Library that conveniently serves the legal community and public.
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1-1.16 Court Facilities

A. The Chief Judge shall designate when and where court shall be held within the circuit pursuant to Article VI, Section 7(c) of the Constitution of the State of Illinois (1970).

B. The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit shall be open to the public during regular business hours. The building may be closed to the public during regular business hours when situations require this action to ensure safety and the orderly conduct of court business. The decision to close the building during regular business hours shall be made by the Chief Judge or his designee. The building shall be closed to the public after regular business hours unless otherwise approved by the Chief Judge.

C.The willful destruction of or damage to any court facility or its contents, the creation of any hazard, and the throwing of articles of any kind within court facilities or from court facilities is prohibited.

D. The Chief Judge may, from time to time, appoint a committee of Judges to inspect the court facilities within the Circuit and to determine if the personnel and resource needs of the Court are being met. The committee shall report to the Circuit Judges as to whether each courtroom, jury room and chambers meets minimum standards as provided by the Supreme Court, and whether the personnel and resources presently being provided to the Courts are adequate. The committee may prepare and submit proposals and recommendations to the County Board for its consideration and action. If appropriate action is not taken within a reasonable time as may be designated by the committee, the provisions of Section E of this Rule shall apply.

E. Upon the failure of the County Board to act pursuant to Section D of this Rule, the committee shall so report to the Chief Judge and submit to the Chief Judge its proposals and recommendations together with the response and action taken by the County Board. If the Chief Judge deems appropriate, he shall set the matter of the proposals and recommendations of the committee for administrative hearing over which he shall preside. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall give Notice of the hearing to the Chairman of the County Board and to any other person whom the Chief Judge deems to be an interested party. The Notice shall be by regular U.S. mail, state the time, date and place of hearing, the matter to be reviewed, and include a copy of the proposals of the committee. The Clerk’s certificate of mailing shall be made of record. The hearing shall not be held until after thirty days from the date of mailing Notice.

If after hearing, the Chief Judge finds that deficiencies exist, he shall delineate the particular deficiencies, specify the corrective action to be taken by the County Board, and the time by which the corrective action is to be completed. If the County Board fails or refuses to comply, a proceeding to enforce the Chief Judge’s directive may be filed pursuant to Article XIV of the Code of Civil Procedure or in a manner as may be provided by the Supreme Court. The Chief Judge may appoint any such experts deemed necessary to examine the facilities and to present evidence at the hearing before the Chief Judge and/or upon hearing of the Complaint for Mandamus.

F. When appropriate, the Attorney General or the State’s Attorney may represent the Court in the hearing before the Chief Judge and in the Complaint for Mandamus. If the Attorney General or State’s Attorney is not able to represent the Court, the Chief Judge may designate another attorney licensed in the State of Illinois.
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1-1.17 Courtroom Decorum

A. It shall be the responsibility of each Judge sitting within the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit to enforce proper courtroom decorum of all court staff, attorneys and persons within the courtroom in which he is presiding.

B. Improper behavior shall immediately be brought to the attention of the particular individual involved and, if not corrected, the Court may take appropriate action.

C. Any conduct in a court facility which creates loud or unusual noise or a nuisance; which unreasonably obstructs the usual entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, offices, elevators, work areas, stairways or courtrooms; which otherwise impedes or disrupts the performance of official duties by Judges and/or court personnel; or which prevents the general public from obtaining the services provided in the various court facilities in a safe and timely manner is prohibited.

D. No person shall enter into or remain in a court facility while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This prohibition shall not apply in cases where a drug is being used as prescribed for a patient by a licensed physician.

E. Dogs and other animals, except service animals, shall not be brought into any court facility without leave of Court.

F. Distribution, posting or affixing materials, such as pamphlets, handbills or flyers, on bulletin boards or elsewhere within or upon any court facility is prohibited, except as authorized.

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1-1.18 Court Appearance

Judges shall begin court promptly at the designated time. All attorneys and parties shall appear promptly before the Court. In the event that a party or attorney fails to appear promptly, the Court may impose such sanctions or take such remedial action as it deems appropriate. In the event that the failure of a party or attorney to appear promptly renders it impossible to proceed, the Court may order the party or attorney failing to appear promptly to pay reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees, to the opposing party or attorney. If counsel is required to be present in another courtroom in the same jurisdiction at the same time, he shall first check in with the clerk of the courtroom where he cannot be present at the start of the court call, provide the location of the other courtroom where he will be present and so notify all other parties involved. Upon completion of the other court matter, he shall immediately return to any courtroom where he has matters pending.
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1-1.19 Jurors

A. All matters pertaining to the selection of jurors, terms of jury service and organization of the Jury Commission shall be consistent with statutes and shall be governed by Administrative Orders. 

B. Whenever a person lawfully summoned to jury duty has failed to appear and has failed to provide a reasonable and timely excuse, the Jury Commission shall assign a new date not less than thirty days from the original date of service and issue a Notice by first class mail advising the person of the delinquency and the new date.

1. If a summoned juror fails to appear and complete his or her jury duty, the State’s Attorney on behalf of the Jury Commissioner, may upon proper Notice to the prospective juror, motion the Court for a hearing instanter on a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asking why the prospective juror should not be held in contempt of Court for failing to appear and complete his or her jury duty.

2. If the Court grants the Jury Commissioner’s Petition, in Section (B)(1) above, and a Rule to Show Cause issues, then the Court shall set the matter for hearing and require that the prospective juror be served personally or by proper substitute service pursuant to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/2-203.

3. At the hearing on the Rule to Show Cause, the Presiding Judge, or his designee, may take testimony and may, on good cause shown, excuse the prospective juror, cause his or her name to be returned to the jury list, defer the juror to a date certain or enter such other Orders or sanctions as may be appropriate.

C. All prospective and impaneled grand and petit jurors shall be compensated in a timely fashion from the County Treasury for per diem services and travel expenses. Said amounts are set by the County Board pursuant to statute. Approximately once each week, a list of jurors shall be submitted to the County Treasurer, indicating in itemized format the amount to be paid to each juror for their fees and travel expenses. Upon receipt of such a list, the Treasurer shall issue appropriate checks. The stub of each check shall certify the number of days served by the juror.

D. Jury service for inquests of the County Coroner shall be provided by the Jury Commissioner, according to such Rules and procedures as the Jury Commissioner deems appropriate.

E. Examination of Juror Personal History and Profile Forms.

1. Juror Personal History and Profile forms are confidential and are not public records.

2. All such forms shall be kept on file by the Jury Commission for a period of three years from the date they are filled out.

3. The only persons allowed to examine said forms are:

a. the Jury Commission;

b. the Judges of the Court;

c. the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Deputy Clerks;

d. parties to a trial and their attorneys, during the jury selection process, but only concerning jurors on the panel for that cause; and

e. persons granted access by Court Order.

4. The answers contained on any such form shall not be publicly disclosed.

5. Parties to a case and their attorneys may examine such forms after conclusion of jury selection only by Order of the Trial Judge, or in his absence, by Order of the Presiding Judge of the division in which the case is pending. Requests by other individuals or entities must be made to the Chief Judge or his designee.

F. No party, agent of a party, or attorney shall communicate or attempt to communicate with any member of the petit jury during his term of service with the Court.

The Jury Commissioner shall report all such incidents to the Chief Judge or his designee.
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1-1.20 Committees

The Chief Judge may create and dissolve standing or ad hoc committees, and may appoint Judges and administrative staff to any such committees. The standing committees shall be determined by Administrative Order.

The Chief Judge shall be an ad hoc member of each said committee.
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1-1.21 Prohibition as to Gratuities

No attorney or party shall give, either directly or indirectly, any gratuity or gift to any employee of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, or any officer serving the Court where such attorney has had or is likely to have any professional or official transaction with the Court; nor shall any employee of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, or any officer serving the Court, accept any gratuity or gift either directly or indirectly from any attorney or other person who has had or is likely to have any professional or official transactions with the Court or officer.

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