Cook Circuit Court Clerk's page out of site

A recent, informal survey showed a problem with the Web site for the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

In just over 40 percent of access attempts, the main page of clerk's site did not display.

Why should anyone care?

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is the sole record-keeper for court cases in Cook County. Anyone wanting to know the status of, parties to, or details about a criminal or civil court case—which generally starts when someone is arrested or files a lawsuit—should be able to find answers at the court clerk's site.

But the site has, for quite a long time, frustrated its users.

Frequent users of the site noticed access problems during parts of 2021. A Chicago trial lawyer told Inside Chicago Government that they and others considered poor access "an active issue last summer/fall," which seemed to clear up—but then "was worse back in December."

In mid-January, Inside Chicago Government asked some readers and subscribers to point their browsers at the main URL of the clerk's site, and report results. Many said the page simply wouldn't load on their browsers.

For each access that users tried, they identified the browser (e.g., Firefox, Windows Explorer) and device operating system (e.g., Windows 11, Android 12) they used. (See the table below for details.)

The Circuit Court Clerk's office is headed by former state Senator Iris Martinez. Martinez became clerk in December, 2020, after winning the November general election. Starting the following August, the clerk's site was down for six weeks in what the clerk's office initially called "a breach that was very limited in scope and duration.”

Martinez took over the court clerk's job from the retired Dorothy Brown, whose tenure had its own challenges with computer access to the clerk's records.

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