The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that Clinton County will take part in a pilot project to file trial records on appeal electronically.

The high court's order authorizes the Fifth Judicial District to begin an e-project, allowing attorneys, parties and appellate justices to work from the record of cases on appeal from Clinton County.

Clinton County joins Rock Island County in the Third Judicial District, Adams County in the Fourth Judicial District and DuPage and Ogle counties in the Second Judicial District to make electronically accessible the record of appeal cases.

In addition, the court announced in January a pilot project for the electronic filing of documents with the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's office.

Making records on appeal electronically brings the courts closer to making e-business universal throughout Illinois.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier said the program would save money and improve information access.

The pilot programs allow attorneys, parties and appellate justices to electronically view, access and work from the record of cases on appeal in Clinton County.

The accessible electronic record will include transcripts of the trial and associated hearings, motions, other pleadings and documents and will exclude physical evidence, including weapons, clothing and the like.

Currently, once an appeal is filed, the case is transported to the attorney on one side of the case. When that attorney finishes filing, the record is transported to the other attorney. If additional briefs are required, the record is transported back and forth between lawyers. After the case is argued in the appellate court, the record resides with the appellate justice assigned to write the opinion. The other two justices hearing the case may request the record, but it must be physically transported.

The pilot projects make the physical transfer of the record unnecessary and removes the cost of repeatedly transporting the record back and forth from the district clerk's office.

Under the pilot project, a paper record pursuant to Supreme Court rules remains with the clerk and will be accessible through the clerk, but a mirror record will be produced electronically with identical pagination.

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