County Government

Judicial Center (Courthouse Building)

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2200 North Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL  60098
815-334-4000

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Judicial Center

 

Circuit Clerk

Traffic - 1st Floor Suite 135
Administration - 3rd Floor Suite 352
Family & Criminal - 3rd Floor Suite 353
Civil & Probate - 3rd Floor Suite 356
 

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is elected by the voters of McHenry County. Katherine M. Keefe was sworn in as McHenry County Clerk of Court on December 1, 2008, after 21 years of working in the Circuit Clerk's office. The Office of the Circuit Clerk is responsible for maintaining a record of all cases filed and heard by the McHenry County Courts. The Circuit Clerk is a non-judicial office of the Judicial Branch of State government. The duties of the Office are set forth by Statute, Rules of the Supreme Court and Administrative Orders of the local Circuit Court. The Circuit Court Clerk is required to attend all sessions of Court, keep and preserve all records and files of the Court and is Keeper of the Seal of the Court.

The McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office employs 69 Deputy Clerks that are responsible for recording filed documents, attending court and maintaining a record of all proceedings, collecting and disbursing fines and fees. Approximately 85,000 new cases are filed each year with the McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office. The Circuit Clerk maintains record of these cases in a computerized court database, ICIS (Integrated Court Information System), as well as scanning all documents that are filed in the Circuit Clerk’s office into our Document Imaging system, OnBase. The McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s court database and Document Imaging system are available to the public at public viewing terminals located at the McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock on both the first and third floors. Access is also available over the Internet on a paid-subscription basis. Access to basic case information is available to the public at no charge on our website.

McHenry County is the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, a single-county Judicial Circuit which was created effective December 4, 2006, when McHenry County split from Lake County and the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. There are currently seven (7) Circuit Judges and ten (12) Associate Judges seated in McHenry County. Court is held at the McHenry County Government Center Monday through Friday, in addition to Traffic Branch Court, which is held on Wednesdays at McHenry City Hall in the City of McHenry.

The McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office mission is to accurately maintain the court records of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court as mandated by state statute. We strive to provide an independent office that provides accessible, responsive, internal and external customer service. Our goal is to bring value, quality and satisfaction to the taxpayers of McHenry County.

 

Court Administration

3rd Floor Suite 355 

Twenty Second Judicial Circuit of McHenry County 
 
Be the guardian of life, liberty and property to all seeking access to justice, by adhering to practices that ensure equality, fairness, and confidence in the judiciary. 
 
The 22nd Judicial Circuit envisions a court system that: 

  • Guarantees the rights of due process to all;
  • Ensures that individual justice is done, in each case; and,
  • Promotes the prompt disposition of cases by using “best practices” case management techniques and technology as a means to better manage the court’s caseload that is fiscally and systematically responsible.

Wedding-Civil Ceremony

 

 

E911

1st Floor Suite 167

To oversee operations of the McHenry County Enhanced 911 Emergency Telephone System.

The mission of the McHenry County Emergency Telephone System Board is to plan, implement, control, maintain, and upgrade to meet current and future demands of the E-911 telephone system for the entire County of McHenry.

The McHenry County ETSB is a thirteen (13) member board with representation from each of the nine (9) Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the county. There is also representation of the McHenry County Police Chief's Association, the McHenry County Fire Chief's Association, McHenry County Emergency Management (EMA), and a citizen at large appointed by the County Board.

Please direct any questions, comments, or suggestions to the 911 Coordinator, Theresa K Carlson.

 

 

Emergency Management

1st Floor Suite 168

Emergency Management is responsible for developing a county-wide emergency preparedness plan to coordinate all resources in McHenry County for any foreseeable emergency or disaster-such as storms, air crashes, hazardous materials incidents, police emergencies, etc. Emergency Management provides coordination and acts as a liaison between local government, state and federal agencies during disasters & emergencies.  

McHenry County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) also coordinates response to Hazardous Materials incidents and serves as the staff agency for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the McHenry County Coordinating Council. The Council will serve in a coordinating role for State, township, municipal, and county functions to pool their collective knowledge to support preparation and mitigation efforts.  

McHenry County EMA has a staff of 4 full-time employees and over 50 volunteers.

 

 

Facility Operations

1st Floor Suite 166

Facilities Management, a department of 33 employees, provides professional management and certified technicians to support all County Government facilities and grounds as directed by the County Board. Facilities Management supports all departments with the most user-friendly, efficient and cost-effective operations providing records management, custodial services, maintenance services and grounds management. The department is also a partner in the planning, design and construction management of renovations and new facilities.

 

 

Information Technology

1st Floor Suite 151

Provides prompt, courteous, responsive customer service to our Departmental customer base. We support, guide, and advise our customers in a technical direction.

 

 

Jury Commission

3rd Floor Suite 342

Juror Guidelines

This a description of the responsibilities and duties of jurors in McHenry County, Illinois. These are rules for jurors. If jurors continue to obey them, then we can operate the Courts as efficiently as possible and meet all the requirements for impartial juries. Also, we can maintain the security of those citizens serving as jurors.

Do not make an independent investigation.
Jurors are expected to use the experience and common sense they possess, but are not to rely upon private sources of information. Therefore, jurors should never inspect the scene of any occurrence involved in a case except under supervision of the Court. The jury's verdict can only be based upon the testimony heard and evidence viewed in the courtroom during the trial.

Do not talk to participants during the trial.
Do not talk to any of the attorneys, parties, reporters or witnesses about anything. It may be only a comment on the weather, but if seen by people who cannot hear what is said it may be misunderstood. It is better to say nothing.

Do not discuss the case during the trial.
Jurors are not to discuss the case among themselves until the testimony is complete and deliberations have begun. It would be unfair to the parties, the other jurors and the juror himself to reach conclusions or influence each other before all the evidence has been presented.

During the trial the juror must not discuss the case with friends, family or others. The reason for this is that a juror must base his/her decision only upon the evidence. The opinions or comments offered by others are not proper evidence in the case. If a juror is asked to discuss the case by persons outside the courtroom, the juror should say that the law does not allow me to do so. If anyone persists in discussing the case or tries to influence a juror in any way, it is the juror's legal duty to report this to the judge right away. A juror should avoid newspapers, radio and television programs that may feature accounts of the trial or information concerning one of the people in it.

These media reports may be biased or incomplete and are not evidence.

After a juror is released they may discuss their experiences with the attorneys, investigators, or other persons. Please be aware, that jurors are not required to do so, and the choice is up to the individuals themselves.

The Stages of Trial

After the jury has been selected and sworn, the trial of a case proceeds as follows:

An opening statement is made by the attorney for the plaintiff. The attorney for the defendant may then make an opening statement. The purpose of opening statements is to outline to the jury what each side contends the evidence will establish. A general idea of what the case is about is thus presented to the jury. Opening statements are not evidence.

Following the opening statements, the attorney for the plaintiff presents evidence. Thereafter, the defendant may or may not choose to present evidence as he or she sees fit.

Evidence falls into two classes -- testimony and exhibits. TESTIMONY consists of statements made by witnesses under oath. EXHIBITS are physical objects such as photographs and written documents. The examination of witnesses by the party calling them is direct examination. Each party has a right to ask questions of the other party's witnesses. This is cross-examination. Jurors are not permitted to question witnesses, unless granted specific authorization by the judge.

Since a juror must base the verdict on the evidence, a juror should hear every question asked and the answer given. If the juror does not hear some of the testimony for any reason -- they should advise the Court. Jurors are entitled to take notes in accordance with the directions given by the judge.

Rules of evidence have been developed through the years so that we may have fair and orderly trials. When a question is asked which either attorney believes is in violation of these rules, he or she has a right to object to the question. The judge then decides whether the question is to be answered by the witness. A ruling by the judge does not mean he or she is taking sides. The judge is deciding that the law does, or does not, permit the question to be asked and answered. Jurors should not be prejudiced for or against one side of the case because of objections made by an attorney. At times the jury may be excused from the courtroom while objections are being discussed, or for other reasons. Under the law, various matters must be heard out of the presence of the jury. When a trial is necessarily interrupted for these reasons, the juror should not feel that their time is being wasted. 

  • When all parties have presented their evidence, they "rest."
  • At this time the Court and the attorneys will prepare instructions as to the law which are to be given to the jurors.
  • Closing arguments are then made by the attorneys, in which they summarize the evidence and try to persuade the jury to find in favor of their respective clients. Closing arguments are not evidence and any statement made by the attorneys which is not based on the evidence should be disregarded. The plaintiff has the burden of proof and therefore has the right to open and close the argument.
  • The judge then reads instructions of law to the jury in which he or she defines the issues the jurors must decide and tells them the law that governs the case. Jurors should listen very carefully to these instructions, bearing in mind that it is their sworn duty to follow them. These written instructions will be taken to the jury room for their use.
  • After the instructions have been read they will go to the jury room to consider the case and reach a verdict.

 

Conduct in the Jury Room:
The first duty of the jury upon retiring at the close of the case is to select a foreperson. He or she acts as chairperson. It is his or her duty to see that the discussion is carried on in an orderly fashion and that every juror has a chance to say what he or she thinks. A good foreperson can keep the discussion in due bounds, can save much time and can secure efficient results.

 

 

Probation & Court Services

2nd Floor Suite 240
Court Monitoring - 2nd Floor Suite 243

The overall Department mission is to serve the courts by providing quality and meaningful investigations to assist the court in decision making, and to supervise those persons sentenced, under court order, in the community. Probation officers provide assistance and guidance to the offender so that he/she may be reintegrated into society in a productive and meaningful manner. The probation officer recognizes that probation, as a sentence, is a viable alternative to incarceration and that community safety is always the Department's main goal.

Available Programs:

  • Adult Programs
  • Juvenile Programs
  • Special Programs

 

 

Public Defender

1st Floor Suite 142

The McHenry County Public Defender's Office represents individuals charged with a criminal offense in McHenry County. The representation begins only after the accused person requests the appointment of counsel by the Court, is shown to be indigent by filing an affidavit of assets and liabilities, and the Court in a written order directs that person to be represented by the Public Defender's Office.

 

 

Sheriff

Patrol - 2nd Floor Suite 252
Training - 2nd Floor Suite 250
Administration - 2nd Floor Suite 256
Records - 2nd Floor Suite 260
Civil Process - 2nd Floor Suite 262
Criminal Investigation - 2nd Floor Suite 265
Communications - 2nd Floor Suite 265

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office is to serve the citizens of McHenry County in a professional and courteous manner, while also protecting the rights of those within its jurisdiction to be free from criminal attack; to be secure in their possessions and to live in peace.

 

 

State's Attorney

1st Floor Suite 160

The State's Attorney of McHenry County is supported by thirty assistant state's attorneys plus a staff including investigators and two victim/witness coordinators. The function of the State's Attorney is two-fold.

The Civil Division is charged with the legal representation of the County of McHenry, a municipal corporation employing over one thousand persons. The State's Attorney represents and advises the County and its Elected Officials in civil litigation arising out of their official duties. The State's Attorney is also responsible for enforcement of County ordinances and collection of child support payments. Attorneys in the Civil Division provide County Officials with legal advice in matters ranging from contracts to County policy.

The State's Attorney represents the People of the State of Illinois through his Criminal Prosecutors. Other than traffic offenses, any crime occurring within the jurisdiction of McHenry County is the responsibility of the Criminal Division of the State's Attorney's Office. Traffic offenses arising within municipalities are prosecuted by private attorneys representing the municipality. Special prosecutors are assigned to target certain crimes, including those involving gang and drug offenses, habitual sex offenders as well as domestic violence. Cases involving abuse or neglect of children or delinquency are managed by prosecutors assigned to Juvenile Court.

If a citizen is the victim of crime, the offense should be reported immediately to the police for investigation. Upon request of the police authority, an Assistant State's Attorney will provide legal guidance to the police at any time, day or night. Information regarding existing cases or the court process is available through our victims' advocates. Calls are received Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.