News & Announcements

Winnebago County Courthouse and Court Operations Update

Following the fire that took place Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 403 W. Elm Street in Rockford (the building directly behind and connected to the Winnebago County Courthouse at 400 W. State St.) the Circuit Court and County Departments have had to adapt to ensure operations continue as efficiently as possible until the building can reopen.

For nearly two months, the Circuit Court, Circuit Clerk, State's Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office and Coroner's Office have all been able to work remotely or shift daily operations elsewhere while fire mitigation efforts were underway at the courthouse. Despite many offices being displaced, Winnebago County employees have continued to provide services to the public with minimal disruption for residents. Court proceedings were rescheduled to either be conducted virtually or relocated to another courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) or the Juvenile Justice Center as available. Individuals seeking emergency orders of protection in Winnebago County have been able to visit the Winnebago County CJC for in-person assistance or make use of the Court's online request system. A temporary Domestic Violence Assistance Center was also opened on the first floor of the Winnebago County CJC.

First Onsite, the company contracted by the County to provide restoration services, has been working diligently to properly clean and treat any damage or effects from fire, and we have gradually reopened departments within the courthouse as areas receive clearance for staff to safely reenter. As of December 16, 2022, staff from the State's Attorney's Office and Public Defender's Office have returned to their offices at 400 W. State Street and additional departments, including the Coroner's Office, are expected to return to their offices in early January.

We cannot thank our hardworking Winnebago County employees enough, who have worked tirelessly to maintain continuity of operations during this unprecedented time. We appreciate the public's understanding as the extensive cleaning process kept us out of the courthouse longer than expected. While cleaning may be completed by mid-January, a timeframe for a return to normal operations in the Main Courthouse remains to be determined.

Ongoing announcements and scheduling changes will continue to be posted on the Court's website at www.17thcircuit.illinoiscourts.gov. Please contact the County Circuit Clerk's Office at (815) 319-4500 for assistance with case scheduling.