Who doesn’t love a good trip to Chicago?! If you’re going to Chi-town to conduct criminal research, you may need a bit of advice, so consider this your official ‘tour guide’ for how research is done in Cook County. We’ve established a network of proprietary researchers in Chicago, meaning they’re employees of SJV that work directly and solely for us. This ensures that through their level of local expertise, we’re producing the fastest, most accurate, and most affordable results possible in Chicago.
Within the last few years, Cook County transitioned to a new web-based Public Access System. During this process, we’ve noted some discrepancies between the “new” web-based system and the “old” DOS-based system. To provide maximum transparency, we’ve provided visual comparisons between the systems and compiled a list of FAQs gathered from our customers:
Minor differences in Case Numbers can be noted between old and new systems.
Old system shows “Guilty” disposition while new system does not specify
As a bonus, here are what ‘Archived Cases’ look like….wrapped up on a pallet withing the Daly Center. Ever wonder why it takes so long to get those older cases reported?!.... ;)
Cases before 1990 are not available on the new system—meaning a lot of old felonies are no longer available. Occasionally on the new system certain old felony cases will not open (as if they are expunged), however if they are searched on the old system they may be available.
Additionally, some information on traffic related cases that were previously available on the old criminal index, may now be indexed in the traffic index system or be incomplete in the criminal index.
This is because the old system is real-time in the sense that once a clerk enters information, it is available right away. On the new system, it takes 5-7 days to upload information. The end goal is for all the judges to start entering their own case information on the new system (to avoid error), and currently four judges are testing it out. There is concern that the system will be unable to handle the processing once all the judges start using it, which is why it is still in the testing phase.
Additionally, most long-time Cook researchers were highly proficient and familiar with the old system. It didn’t require the use of a mouse to point and click but rather only used arrow keys. There is a learning curve and obvious hesitance toward changing a system that has been in place in Cook since the 1980s.