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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Military veterans benefiting from new criminal court

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Chicago Defender
by Wendell Huston

Rather than send them to prison, veterans charged with non-violent felonies in Cook County, such as drug possession or theft, have an opportunity to receive probation if they choose to appear in Veterans Court.

In February the Cook County Felony Veterans Court Program was implemented as a way to increase veterans’ understanding of services available to them, such as job readiness, housing, medical and more.

To date 35 veterans have appeared in courtroom 204 at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building, 2650 S. California Ave. And of those veterans, 70 percent were Black, said Mark Kammerer, director of treatment programs for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

“It does not matter if a veteran has past convictions. As long as their current charge is a non-violent felony they are eligible to have their case heard in veteran’s court,” Kammerer explained. “They have the choice of pleading guilty and accepting probation or they can plead innocent and have their day in court, where they could still receive probation.”

However, the only guarantee a veteran has to receive probation is to plead guilty rather than go to trial. If not, they run the risk of being sentenced to prison depending on other factors, such as their background, according to the program.

David Eggert, 56, appeared Friday in the newly formed court before Judge John Kirby to explain why he missed an appointment with his probation officer.

“I was sick, Your Honor. I had pneumonia,” Eggert said. “I have my paperwork to prove it, Your Honor.”

After providing proof that he had been treated by a doctor, Kirby continued his case until January.

The same day, another veteran was tested for drug use and his results came back positive.

This was his second time in one week testing positive for cocaine. The judge ordered him to undergo 120 days of drug treatment at Cook County Jail where he will stay unless he posts bail, which was set at $150,000.

Eggert said he likes Veterans Court because the people there are concerned about the well being of veterans.

“These people are not here just for a paycheck. They are here because they care,” he told the Defender. “I am glad such courts exist because the other courts do nothing but lock you up and throw away the key.”

According to Kammerer, the majority of the veterans who appear in Veterans Court are men but some are women.

“I served in the Persian Gulf War and was wounded so I was sent home,” said Monique Stallsworth, 51. “I am here because I got caught with drugs on me. I was selling them to get some money but I was not using it. I could have received two to five years in prison but was given a second chance if I complete my probation and stay out of trouble.”

One veteran who appeared in court Friday said he had no place to live.

Within two hours caseworkers had found a place for him to stay. Featherfist, a South Side homeless organization, agreed to take him in at their newest building, which opened Dec. 7 exclusively for veterans.

Veterans Court is held 9:30 a.m. the second and fourth Friday of each month. In addition to probation, veterans can also receive social services, such as housing, education and legal assistance, job training, mental and substance abuse counseling.

“Believe it or not there are some veterans who do not even know what services they’re eligible for, so we coordinate our efforts with the state and federal Veteran Departments to get vets the services they need and are entitled to,” Kammerer said. “And just so taxpayers know, this court is not an additional cost to them because even if the court did not exist the vets would still have to go to court somewhere.

In January a second Veterans Court is expected to open at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in west suburban Maywood. The unique court is modeled after Veterans Courts in Buffalo, N.Y. and San Diego, according to William Schmutz, director/community liaison for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

“This court came about after we saw the courts in New York and California doing so well with its vets,” Schmutz said.

“We want to help our veterans not lock them up after they serve their country.”



Recent Headlines

Illinois Medical District to get largest ambulance garage in Cook County
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County sweetened beverage sales continue to decline
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

New bond court rules take effect, but not much of an effect
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Bond court gets underway in Cook County with different judges, new guidelines
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Harwood Heights adds retail theft as ordinance violation
Monday, September 18, 2017

Cook County’s Homeland Security interim chief resigns
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County's social worker for the dead helps the unclaimed find final resting places
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

After legal challenges, Cook County's court for unwed parents quietly goes away
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Welcome to Cook County, Mayor Bloomberg. You're getting played on the soda tax.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Evans reshuffles bond court; meet the ‘Pretrial Division’
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: The Cook County Board's legacy: Killing Cook County jobs
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

If the soda tax were out of sight, would it be out of mind?
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board delays showdown over soda tax until October 10, and other Chicago news
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Chicago Reader

City reports record number of Chicagoans with health insurance
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Morning Spin: 10 key numbers in Cook County soda tax repeal debate
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Four weeks to kill the soda tax
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune

CPS inspector: High school at Cook County Jail phonied up attendance
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

CPS Watchdog: School In Cook County Jail Falsified Attendance, Credit Rates
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Morning Spin: 10 key numbers in Cook County soda tax repeal debate
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: What’s to be done when a dead man gets class credit?
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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