A Chicago man filed suit Wednesday in an attempt to compel Cook County to staff all courtrooms with deputies.
Steven Marshall filed the suit, which insists that by
law the county "is required to provide security for all courthouses and
have a deputy present in each courtroom within the circuit court for
At root of the issue is a $25 court fee being assessed
for appearances, supposedly to provide such security. During the
primary campaign, Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown boasted of
newly imposing such fees, even as Sheriff Tom Dart bemoaned he did not
have the budget or staffing to put deputies in each courtroom or even
on each floor at the Daley Center courthouse in downtown Chicago.
"You would think that the court system would make sure
the courts are staffed, with all this money they're taking in," said
Steven Seidman, Marshall's attorney. "The court system should not be a
profit center for the general revenue."
"The sheriff has been pleading with the County Board to
give him more court deputies," said a Dart spokesman. "So we agree with
the suit that we need more."
A spokeswoman for County Board President Todd Stroger declined to comment, saying officials had not yet seen the suit.