Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  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

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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