Part 4.00 Trials

2-4.01 Counsel to be Present
2-4.02 Stipulations
2-4.03 Jury Trials
2-4.04 Evidence amended 12-1-17

2-4.01 Counsel to Be Present

All attorneys responsible for conducting the trial shall appear in court at the time any case is called for trial. If any such attorney is unable to appear, alternate counsel shall present an affidavit of the responsible counsel setting forth the reasons he is unable to appear.

2-4.02 Stipulations

All stipulations in relation to pleadings, dismissals, evidentiary matters or statement of facts to be used in the trial or hearing of any cause must be reduced to writing, signed by the parties or the attorneys, and filed in the cause or dictated to the court reporter during trial or hearing.

2-4.03 Jury Trials

A. Unless the Court orders otherwise, in all civil jury cases the Plaintiff’s attorney shall prepare and submit to the Court and opposing parties a statement of the nature of the case to be read by the Court to the venire prior to voir dire examination. The statement shall include the time, date, and place of the alleged occurrence or offense and a brief description thereof, the name of the parties involved and their counsel and a list of witnesses, occupation if relevant and town of residence, whom the parties expect to call. Opposing counsel may suggest amendments to the statement prior to it being read to the venire.

B. Counsel may submit written questions to the Court for its consideration for use in voir dire examination.

2-4.04 Evidence

This rule sets forth physical requirements that must be met prior to admitting evidence at trial or hearing. It in no way is intended to serve as a foundational requirement, but rather is intended to facilitate proper storage of the evidence by the Clerk of Court. This rule pertains to both civil and criminal cases.

A. Definitions

1. Biological Evidence means evidence that is recovered from a crime scene, including but not limited to blood, saliva, sperm, hair, tissue, bones, teeth, or other bodily fluids.

2. Clerk means the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk or his or her designee.

3. Corrosive (430 ILCS 35/2-7) means any substance which in contact with living tissue causes destruction of tissue by chemical action; this does not refer to action on inanimate surfaces.

4. Courtroom Clerk means the clerk assigned to the courtroom during the trial or hearing.

5. Court Officer means the Lake County Sheriff’s Office sworn officer assigned to the courtroom where the hearing or trial is conducted, or a sworn officer from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office designated by the Sheriff’s Court Security Unit.

6. Hazardous Substance (430 ILCS 35/2-4) means any substance or mixture of substances which is toxic, corrosive, an irritant, strong sensitizer, flammable, combustible or which generates pressure through decomposition, heat or other means and which may cause substantial personal injury or illness during or as a proximate result of any customary or reasonably anticipated handling or use including reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children.

7. Judge Presiding means the Trial Court Judge who presides over the hearing or trial in which the evidence is admitted. 

B. Exhibit Preparation Prior to Submission

The proponent of any exhibit offered into evidence at a trial or a hearing shall comply with the following provisions prior to that exhibit being accepted by the Clerk. Any item not conforming to the following provisions shall be brought to the attention of the Judge Presiding and shall not be accepted by the Clerk, unless ordered by the Judge Presiding:

1. All live ammunition is to be submitted in a soft paper bag, a small envelope, or a small container suitable to prevent excessive friction or movement while contained.

2. Any bullet fragments used for the purpose of ballistics testing must be submitted in a soft paper bag, a small envelope, or a small container suitable to prevent excessive friction or movement while contained.

3. All stained porous material, such as clothing, shoes, boots, hats, gloves, jackets, towels, sheets etc. must be dried to prevent molding. Each article must be submitted in a separate paper bag. Such items will not be accepted in plastic bags.

4. Non-stained items may be submitted in separate clear plastic bags. 

5. Any firearm must have all ammunition removed prior to submission to the Court. When submitted, the firearm must be in a condition that will not allow the trigger to be pulled. The Court Officer will confirm that all requirements have been met prior to the Clerk taking possession. 

6. Knives and any other bladed weapons must be secured in a cardboard box or suitably safe paper envelope. 

7. Breakable exhibits must be submitted in protective containers strong enough to prevent breakage and contain spillage. 

8. All perishable items (e.g., food) and those emanating excessive odors (e.g., untanned animal hides) must be submitted in suitable containers at the discretion of the Judge Presiding. The Judge Presiding may allow a photograph of such an exhibit to be substituted in place of the physical exhibit. 

9. Any drugs relating to powder, tablets, capsules, or residues must be submitted in clear heavy-duty plastic bags or other types of transparent, non-breakable containers. Any opening of the bag or other container must be completely sealed with exhibit tape.

10. Any plant based drugs must be submitted in a paper bag if not previously dried to avoid molding. If dried, these drugs may be submitted in a suitable sealed plastic bag or container.

11. Hazardous substances must be submitted in containers approved for storage of a hazardous substance strong enough to prevent breakage and contain spillage. The outside of the container must clearly a) identify the contents and b) be marked “Hazardous.” A party who seeks to bring any hazardous substance into the courthouse as an exhibit to a trial or hearing must first obtain a Court Order issued by the Judge Presiding granting permission to bring the substance into the courthouse. That Order should set forth the exact nature of the hazardous substance, and the manner in which it will be stored and handled to ensure the safety of the public and all Court personnel.

12. Any evidence that is reasonably likely to contain forensic evidence, including but not limited to fingerprints or biological material, must be admitted and stored in a suitable storage container to be provided by the party responsible for introducing the evidence to the Court. The container must be designed to preserve the physical integrity of the specimen. The agency responsible for storing the evidence after trial shall do so in strict compliance with 725 ILCS 5/116-4. 

13. Multi-page documents not securely fastened must be placed in transparent plastic bags to ensure that pages are not lost. 

14. In cases in which counsel anticipates that there will be more than fifty documentary exhibits, the documentary exhibits must be submitted in tabbed, three ring binders.

15. An Exhibit list must be submitted describing the Exhibit with columns titled “offered” “admitted and “refused.” 

C. Exhibit Stickers

1. Each proponent of an exhibit is responsible for properly affixing exhibit stickers. 

2. Each exhibit sticker shall clearly identify the party offering the exhibit (i.e. state/plaintiff or defendant), the case number, and the exhibit number. 

3. Stickers shall be placed on the exhibits in a manner which will not interfere with the viewing of exhibits. For paper exhibits, exhibit stickers should be placed in the lower right corner of the front side of the first page, or, if more practicable, on the lower right corner on the back of the document. 

4. If an exhibit sticker cannot be attached directly to the exhibit, the exhibit sticker should be attached to a wired or stringed tag which will then be attached to the exhibit. If an exhibit is too small for an exhibit sticker, the exhibit should be placed in a suitable container or envelope and the exhibit sticker should be placed on the outside the container or envelope where it is clearly visible.

D. Release of Items

1. Items may be released by the Clerk by Court Order only or for the transfer to the appellate court as required.

2. All items released shall be returned to the Clerk within thirty days of release unless specifically extended by Court Order. This shall not apply to exhibits released to the Appellate Court.

3. Any exhibits authorized for release may be returned to the attorney who admitted them at the trial/hearing, or if possible, the owners if they can be determined. Questions as to ownership of exhibits shall be submitted to the Chief Judge or his/her designee.

4. Attorneys or owners of exhibits shall be notified by mail of the intent to destroy exhibits from a case. The notice shall give the attorney or owner thirty days to remove the exhibits from the Circuit Clerk’s office. When the thirty days has elapsed, all exhibits shall be released from the custody of the Circuit Clerk’s office for destruction. 

5. Release of weapons or contraband shall be governed by Court Order. 

E. Release Schedule:

Excluding all exhibits that have a specific retention period set by statute, and except as otherwise provided by Order of the Court, exhibits may be released according to the following schedule:

1. Civil, Traffic, Ordinance, Conservation, and Civil Law: Retention period shall terminate following the expiration of the appeal time period.

2. Criminal, DUI, Juvenile: Retention period shall terminate concurrently with destruction of the Basic Record as permitted by Schedule One.

Any exhibit in a case may be released at any time by Order of the Judge who presided at the trial, or by Order of the Chief Judge.

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