Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Sheriff, judge debate decree on county jail

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Brian Mackey

SPRINGFIELD — Cook County's chief judge and sheriff are facing off over who ought to be responsible for preventing overcrowding in the county jail.

Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is pushing for legislation that would shift the responsibility for releasing jail inmates and assigning them to electronic monitoring from the sheriff's office to judges.

''We believe that clerical employees and correctional officers are not the appropriate people to be making decisions about which defendants are held behind bars and which defendants are allowed to live at home while their trials are pending,'' said Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for the sheriff.

''Common sense dictates that that's a decision that a judge should make,'' Cunningham added. ''We think that if judges do make the decisions as far as who goes on electronic monitoring, it'll be a more secure program.''

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, however, contends the measure would violate a federal consent decree on jail overcrowding and is an unconstitutional infringement on a judicial function.

In a telephone interview and follow-up statement, Evans said he did not see this issue as a debate between him and the sheriff, but he identified several problems with the proposal.

The decision to grant or deny bail is a judicial function, Evans said, but the legislation would require that he coordinate with the Cook County County Board and sheriff ''to ensure that the electronic monitoring program is being utilized by the Circuit Court to relieve overcrowding at the county jail.''

That, Evans said, violates the separation of powers by effectively ''dictating'' to judges that electronic monitoring must be imposed when the jail is overcrowded.

Another point of contention is how the legislation would function with regard to a federal consent decree on overcrowding. Evans said the consent decree puts responsibility for overcrowding on the sheriff.

In 1983, less than a year after the consent decree took effect, the plaintiff class of jail inmates charged that the county still had not relieved overcrowding. The federal judge overseeing the decree ordered that ''if compliance with the order requires a reduction in inmate population … and if no Illinois state court of competent jurisdiction has then specified a different method of selecting the persons to be released to accomplish such reduction, Sheriff Elrod and Director Hardiman are directed to release on their own recognizance the persons held in default of the lowest amount of bail, and among persons held on the same amount of bail the ones who have been confined for the longest time.'' Duran v. Elrod, 713 F.2d 292 (7th Cir. 1984).

Since no courts have specified another method for relieving overcrowding, Evans contends, the sheriff is still responsible and shifting the burden to the courts would violate the decree.

''Nothing could be further from the truth,'' Cunningham said, noting that the consent decree is silent on electronic monitoring.

Electronic monitoring was introduced in Cook County in response to public pressure over the increasing use of sheriff's I-bonds, Cunningham said, which peaked in 1987 when 35,000 of 70,000 people booked at the jail were released because of overcrowding.

''At no time did the federal judge step up and say, 'We're going to create electronic monitoring and the sheriff is going to decide,' '' Cunningham said of the high-tech form of house arrest.

Malcolm C. Young, executive director of the John Howard Association of Illinois, a prison watchdog group, said more inmates might be able to qualify for electronic monitoring through the adversarial process of a bond hearing.

''If the sheriff can relatively successfully release inmates based upon the information available to the sheriff, which is relatively incomplete, we have often thought that you could get more people released and probably keep someone in who shouldn't be released, if you use a defense attorney and prosecutor and pretrial services,'' Young said.

The association is the federally appointed monitor of the consent decree.

Young, however, said he was not sure legislation was the way to go — he would rather the sheriff and courts agree to a more complete review of the bond process that would improve the system as a whole.

The sponsor of House Bill 2749, Rep. John D'Amico, D-Chicago, said he expects to call the legislation for a vote this week.

Legislation may be found on the General Assembly's Web site at www.ilga.gov.



Recent Headlines

Honoring the Silver Star Families of America at the Cook County Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 6th
Monday, March 27, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

As High-Poverty Neighborhoods Shrink, Downtown Construction Booms
Monday, March 27, 2017

While detainees sit, Cook County bail reform drags on
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Morning Spin: Dorothy Brown contract stalls amid accusations of 'potential half-truths'
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

South Austin man charged in shooting near Cook County courthouse
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Man wounded in hail of gunfire outside Cook County courthouse
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Des Plaines Mayor Says Compost Proposal On Dump Site Will Be Delayed
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Journal Online

Man wounded in hail of gunfire outside Cook County courthouse
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Ensuring Earlier Access to Attorneys for Arrestees in Chicago
Monday, March 20, 2017
wttw Chicago Tonight

Officials: Glencoe, Forest Preserve District close to finalizing golf club land use agreement
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

The mysterious case of Philippe Loizon and $200,000 charged to Cook County taxpayers
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

6 Ways the Republicans’ Proposed Health Care Bill Could Impact Cook County
Friday, March 17, 2017
Chicago Magazine

Cook County Board Lobbying Activity Dropped In 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Daily Line

River Forest opts out of Cook County minimum wage, sick leave rules
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Orr: Sugary drink tax, ridesharing tax ordinance were focus of Cook County lobbying activity in 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Board Lobbying Activity Dropped In 2016
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Daily Line

Kim Foxx planning to revamp Cook County wrongful-conviction unit
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Sheriff dropped from lawsuit challenging bail; focus now on Cook County judges
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Injustice Watch

Cook County Pushing To Make It Easier To Expunge Juvenile Records
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
WBEZ

Making it easier to get juvenile arrest records expunged
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Daily Northwestern

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP