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Glitch In System Stopping Evictions Not Covered By Governor's Moratorium

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A glitch in the system dealing with evictions is now stopping evictions that do not fall under the Illinois governor's moratorium.

This week attorneys ran into a problem at the Daley Center inside the Cook County Clerk's Office.

"When I was looking on the docket today, our cases all disappeared," said attorney Robert Kahn.

Kahn works commercial and residential evictions. He quickly learned the glitch affected more than just lawyers.

"What the major problem is, is that the judges can't see the cases either, so when the judges are watching remotely or in the courtroom, they have a screen, and they can't see anything anymore," he said.  

This centers around a law Gov. JB Pritzker signed this month requiring all residential eviction cases filed during the COVID-19 pandemic be sealed. But it turned out every case, including commercial evictions, ended up sealed as well.

"They shouldn't have sealed every case file," Kahn said. "They should have sealed everything that dealt with COVID."

Kahn adds this affects landlords who are simply looking to rent.

"Landlords can't do background checks for people who've been evicted right now," he said.

Kahn does not blame the circuit clerk's office. He argues the glitch is a result of rushed legislation.

"You're asking Cook County, which is the second biggest court system in the United States, overnight to change everything. It just isn't fair to the clear," he said.

Yet the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk's Office insists there are no technical glitches ands aid it is working diligently to ensure the new law is carried out properly.

The office did not answer how long that will take or how many cases were sealed for no reason.

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