Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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:  

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


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

  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.

Officials say budget cuts would run too deep

Friday, December 21, 2007
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Stephanie Potter

Proposed 10 percent cuts to Cook County's 2008 budget would have a devastating effect on the criminal justice system, officials told the county board at a budget hearing Wednesday.

Public Defender Edwin A. Burnette said the cuts would mean the loss of 69 attorney positions, while State's Attorney Richard A. Devine put that figure at 143 attorney positions cut from his office.

Burnette said a 10 percent cut would amount to $5.5 million for his office. He said his office is already stretched thin, with caseloads well above national standards.

''We have fought very hard to keep ineffective assistance of counsel from becoming a reality,'' Burnette said. ''As resources continue to decrease, we risk losing this battle. Staffing at 1989 levels with 2007 caseloads is quite frankly wearing my people down.''

Burnette said the projected budget cut would mean the deletion of 14 vacancies and layoffs of 55 other attorneys. Burnette said the layoffs would mean there would be no public defenders available to staff misdemeanor courts throughout the city of Chicago, and no public defenders to represent county residents facing the termination of their parental rights.

However, Burnette cautioned that the county is obligated to provide a legal defense in those cases, and said the cost of appointed counsel would ultimately be far greater than the $5.5 million saved by slashing his budget.

Yet Burnette ultimately may not have a choice.

''As you know, I am not an elected official,'' Burnette said. ''If this board says cut 10 percent, we'll cut 10 percent.''

The county board must close an approximately $238 million deficit and pass a 2008 budget by the end of February. Board President Todd H. Stroger's proposed $3.2 billion budget hinged in part on a 2 percent sales tax increase the board has not been willing to pass.

However, Brian Hopkins, assistant to Finance Committee Chairman John P. Daley, said a lesser sales tax increase is possible.

''We have divided viewpoints at this point,'' Hopkins said.

Devine's office decried what would amount to a $9.5 million in cuts. His chief of staff, Adrienne D. Mebane, said that figure is too large to come from any one division of the office, but Devine has not determined from where the cuts would come.

''We're taking it quite seriously,'' Mebane said.

Some officials, including Devine and Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, have said they would support some form of a tax increase.

''I'm not going to run and hide from the fact that you may need revenue enhancements, and I will support some of them,'' Dart told the committee Wednesday.

Chief Cook County Judge Timothy C. Evans said he told the committee that a cut of 10 percent would mean a loss of 104 positions in offices he controls. Those cuts would include senior management in the chief judge's office as well as juvenile probation workers, a problem because Evans is slated to soon take over control of the long-troubled Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

''We need more probation officers, not less,'' Evans said.

However, Evans may not have to make any cuts. He proposed an alternative plan under which the court would fill the gap via increased revenue, most of it from stricter enforcement of mandatory fees and costs in minor traffic cases.

Evans outlined seven mandatory fees, including drug court, mental health court and court supervision fees, that together total $41.60 per case. Evans said that in the past, judges have not specifically ordered all seven fees, instead issuing orders saying that all ''mandatory fees'' must be paid. However, clerks who later reviewed those orders did not know whether they had the authority to charge the court fees, so they went uncollected, Evans said.

Evans said by issuing a general order mandating all fees, he would expect an additional $11.69 million to be charged annually.

Evans said the committee was enthusiastic about his revenue proposals. But he was concerned about possible cuts to other criminal justice offices, including the state's attorney's office and public defenders office.

''This was not a scare tactic,'' Evans said. ''Daley said he considered the need to cut or bring in new revenue to be real.''

In a statement, Circuit Clerk Dorothy A. Brown said she opposed 10-percent across-the-board cuts ''without any type of analysis to determine whether necessary services will be eliminated.''

Brown said the cuts could mean that her office, and many others will be unable to meet their statutory requirements.

Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicagoís only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jailís Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

all news items

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