No Ordinary Process: The Flaws in Illinois Courts' Use of Remote Video Technology in Mental Health Trials
40 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 1, 2021
This article discusses and criticizes Illinois courts’ use of remote video conference technology in mental-health trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. It contends that, while the Illinois Supreme Court issued rules and guidance that directed how local courts should implement video conference technology with purpose and accommodations, the local courts (including the largest circuit court in Illinois) instead mandated remote video technology for mental health trials as a panacea without regard to participants’ preferences, objections, or disabilities. As detailed further, the issues only compound because of a separate shortcoming where, unlike other remote hearings and trials which are widely available to view by the public, no such public access links accompany any of these remote video mental health trials. Meaning, for the majority of 2020 and continuing to date (as of Feb. 20, 2021), trials involving fundamental liberty interests (i.e., involuntary commitments and forced administration of medications or electroconvulsive therapy) occurred out of public view, in a manner inconsistent with law and policy.
Keywords: COVID-19, Mental Health, Zoom, Due Process, Public Access, Remote Hearing, Mental Illness, Illinois Law, Chicago Mental Health Court, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission,
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