Office gets permission to file reports electronically

URBANA — One might not equate backflips with a technology upgrade, but the latter has produced great joy in the Champaign County circuit clerk's office. A week ago, Circuit Clerk Katie Blakeman got word from the Illinois secretary of state that her office can now send reports to that office electronically instead of filling out paper copies by hand and putting them in the U.S. mail. "We're doing backflips. We are very, very excited," said Blakeman, who marks her first anniversary as circuit clerk on Dec. 1. "It affects several people as part of their jobs. There's at least one person who does paper dispositions all day long. We're excited because it streamlines our process internally and bri

Report: Women dominate Champaign County juries

CHAMPAIGN — While diversity in Champaign County juries has improved over the last several years, it's far from perfect, according to trained court watchers. "We make slow progress and we have well-intended court officials and well-intended community folks who are trying to get the word out that jury duty is not onerous and it's important. Slowly, we are seeing some results," said Steve Beckett, professor of trial advocacy at the University of Illinois College of Law and a practicing defense attorney based in Urbana. The eighth annual report of the League of Women Voters of Champaign County and the UI College of Law shows an over-representation of women on juries, while the majority of crimin

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