The Courts

Illinois’ courts are divided into three major branches.

The Illinois Supreme Court is the highest court in the prairie state. It has administrative and supervisory over all of the state’s courts and it hears the appeals that come from lower courts. The Supreme Court has seven justices elected from five judicial districts (three are elected from Chicago) for 10-year terms.

The Appellate Court hears appeals from the Circuit courts, which are the state’s trial courts. It is divided into five districts across the state.One of those is Chicago, the other four districts cover the remaining 101 counties. Appellate Court judges are elected from the five judicial districts for 10-year terms. In addition to Chicago, Appellate courts are in Elgin, Ottawa, Springfield and Mount Vernon.

The Circuit Courts serve as the local trial courts. The state is divided into 24 judicial circuits in Illinois,  each having one chief judge elected by the circuit judges. Associate judges may not preside over felony cases, unless authorized by the Supreme Court. Circuit judges are elected for six-year terms; associate judges are appointed by the circuit judges for four-year terms.

A handy resource high covering the courts is available here.

You can also sign up to get on the e mail list to be notified of court activities along with following the Illinois Courts Twitter Account.