A. Exhibits received at trial, or in any evidentiary hearing (excluding only arbitration hearings conducted pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 90), shall be retained by the Circuit Clerk unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge.
1. In a jury trial, the exhibits shall be collected by the Clerk after the rendition of the jury’s verdict. If the verdict is returned after hours or when a clerk is unavailable, the exhibits should be collected by the Clerk on the next business day.
2. In a bench trial, the exhibits shall be collected by the Clerk after the close of evidence; however, the exhibits may alternatively be retained by the judge hearing the case and transmitted by the judge to the clerk after decision.
3. If exhibits are utilized in an evidence deposition, they should be tendered to the Clerk for inclusion in the record. Numbering of exhibits used at trial should not duplicate the numbers assigned to the exhibits at the evidence deposition (e.g., if Exhibits 1 and 2 are marked during the evidence deposition, the first exhibit at trial would be Exhibit 3).
4. The Court may order that physical, non-documentary exhibits which pose a security risk (e.g., weapons, contraband, cash, etc.) be retained by counsel unless the exhibits are requested for inclusion in the appellate record. A party or attorney retaining such exhibits shall file a receipt therefor on a form provided by the clerk.
B. Except for criminal and juvenile cases, if no notice of appeal is filed in a timely fashion, then 60 days after the case is closed the Circuit Clerk shall do the following:
1. Notify the party/attorney that if they wish to regain possession of their exhibits, they must pick up said exhibits within 30 days of the date of the notice. The party shall sign a receipt created by the Circuit Clerk for the items returned.
2. If a party does not request the return of his/her exhibits within the time specified in the notice, the Circuit Clerk may dispose of them as seen fit.
C. The Clerk may allow exhibits in the Clerk’s possession pending an appeal to be inspected by counsel, as officers of the court, upon provision of a signed log sheet or receipt. Exhibits may be inspected by unrepresented parties only upon entry of an appropriate court order.
D. Where the parties agree or the court orders, copies may be substituted for original exhibits if necessary.
E. This rule applies to exhibits presented at trial or in any evidentiary hearing. This rule does not apply to pleadings, regardless of whether any document is marked or described as an “exhibit.”
F. It is within the Court’s authority to order that exhibits be retained by the parties at the conclusion of short hearings at which some exhibits are received.
G. The responsibility for marking and submitting exhibits rests on the parties, not the Court or the Clerk. Nothing in this rule is intended to shift that responsibility.
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