Jacob's Plan - Access To Justice
Meister is committed to making our court system easier to access and navigate, particularly for pro se litigants (parties representing themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney) who are required to electronically file into a confusing and cumbersome electronic filing system. For that reason, Meister will introduce a countywide “access to justice” program for pro se litigants who often do not have access to a computer, understand how the court’s electronic systems operate or are unable to travel to a courthouse during business hours, just to file routine paperwork.
Partnering with Libraries to Provide Assistance
Currently, the only assistance for pro se litigants seeking to file electronically is at a courthouse, during business hours. This “unintended consequence” of the mandatory electronic filing system has created tremendous hardship for those who cannot afford a lawyer, do not have access to a computer, lack the technical knowledge of the court’s e-file system or cannot afford to miss time from work just to file a document. Meister will install computer filing “kiosks” in public libraries and government buildings around the county and conduct regular e-filing training seminars around the county for reference librarians and others, thereby allowing pro se litigants the resources and assistance needed to electronically access the court system in their own neighborhoods, on evenings and weekends. Everyone in Cook County should be able to access justice in their communities, not just at a courthouse. This program can be implemented with minimal financial investment and will make a large difference in the lives of the people who are most often negatively affected by the newly mandated electronic filing system.
The Clerk’s office plays a vital role in the sealing and expungement of criminal records. Under Illinois’ new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, approximately 770,000 Illinois residents are now eligible to have their records expunged, some requiring a court appearance and others happening automatically. As Clerk, Meister will work with the judiciary and law enforcement to make sure that automatic expungements are occurring in a timely manner and to simplify the court administered expungement process so that those seeking to expunge or seal records can minimize the amount of time of missed work. Meister will expand community outreach by having regular expungement seminars available at libraries, community centers and municipal government offices around the county.
Access to Social Services
For most people, interacting with our courts happens at the lowest point in life — at the time of an eviction, criminal prosecution, foreclosure, a child custody decision, or the death of a loved one. While our courts are well equipped to handle the legal issues, we need to be cognizant that human lives are often at issue. Meister will work with social service agencies to make sure that resources are available at every courthouse for those who need assistance.
Meister is dedicated to treating the users of the courts — the public, lawyers and judges — as valued customers. On day one, he will name a Chief Customer Service Officer (CCSO) who will be responsible for making the Clerk’s office user-friendly and efficient. LEARN MORE…
Operational problems cannot be resolved without fixing the myriad of ethical issues. Under Meister’s leadership, the Clerk’s office will increase transparency with a real plan that focuses on Access to Information and Ethics. LEARN MORE…
Meister will make Access to Justice a priority from day one. Making our our court system easier to access and navigate, expanding community outreach, working with social services and partnering with libraries. LEARN MORE…
Friends for Jacob Meister
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Chicago, IL 60648