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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



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

Commentary: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer: I won't vote for a sales tax hike
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Nix the Toni Tax. Then fix Cook County.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Opinion: Cook County sales tax must be raised
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Mastercard, Visa stop escort ad payments
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle blames state lawmakers for proposed sales tax hike
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Jail Nurse Files Lawsuit Claiming She Was Fired For Blowing Whistle On Staff Stealing Medications
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
CBS local

Preckwinkle to move fast on sales tax hike
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Several forest preserve campgrounds reopening this summer
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Chicago police get some quiet help--from Sheriff Tom Dart
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Opinion: Cook County sales tax must be raised
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Who likes a sales tax hike? Not too many
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

West suburban business leaders leery of proposed Cook County sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle blames state lawmakers for proposed sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago transitional center, program for mentally disabled prison inmates helps them learn coping skills
Monday, June 29, 2015
The News-Sentinel

Misdiagnosis still covered for immunity
Monday, June 29, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Judge retiring after 15 years on the bench
Monday, June 29, 2015
Fox 32 Chicago

Vote could be close on Preckwinkle sales tax
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Chicago Tribune

After Long Fight, Cook County RNs Win New Tentative Pact with Staffing, Economic Improvements
Saturday, June 27, 2015
E News Park Forest

4-H contest brings chickens, crafts to Toyota Park
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Chicago Tribune

'History of Surgery' shares stories of Cook County Hospital
Saturday, June 27, 2015
The Daily Journal Kankakee

all news items

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