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Judge to determine fate of juvenile center

Friday, June 22, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Tribune staff report

A federal court judge will hear testimony from experts next month about whether an independent authority should take over operations at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

At a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Nordberg reiterated questions about whether appointing a receiver would interfere with a bill pending in Springfield that would transfer control of the center from county commissioners to the chief judge of Cook County Circuit Court.
"The concern I have is too many cooks spoil the broth," Nordberg said.

Advocates pushing for a court receiver argued the proposed transfer legislation was too weak and too slow in coming.

The legislation would leave authority over purchasing and budgetary decisions with the County Board, according to attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union. And the transfer could take months to go into effect, the attorneys said. They also argued that a receiver could help improve the center before any transfer.

County attorneys have argued that they could rush the transfer of authority to Chief Judge Timothy Evans, making the need for a receiver or third party unnecessary, they said.

In documents filed in U.S. District Court last week, county officials revealed that Evans already has appointed Michael Rohan, Circuit Court director of juvenile probation and court services, to lead the transition.

A county attorney said the County Board could transfer control of the detention center to the chief judge through a resolution before the state bill is signed into law.



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