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What Happens In Illinois When A Judge Falls Asleep During A Trial?


Do you get a new trial in Illinois if the judge falls asleep?

After I do the morning show, later in the day I can get pretty tired. Sometimes, I have to attend meetings later in the day. I have caught myself head bobbing turning them. I can’t help it. I’m sleepy.

Could you imagine being a judge going through a trial? So many people talking for such a long time. It’s making me yawn just thinking about it.

What happens if a judge in Illinois falls asleep during a trial? Does the defendant get a new one?


“A divided Illinois Appellate Court panel recently said no; so long as the judge was not dozing through crucial evidence or motions, an inadvertent nap is harmless. “We find that a judge falling asleep during a trial does not constitute … reversible error.” 

I know I feel bad if I start dozing in a work meeting, but during a trial doesn’t seem very fair to the people it’s affecting.

Not everyone agrees with the decision.

“Of course it should be an automatic reversal if the judge falls asleep,” said longtime criminal defense attorney Steve Greenberg. “It sends an awful message to the jurors that whatever is going on is just not important.”

What do you think?


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