Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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.

  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.

Sheriff's 'frivolous' appeal dismissed

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Crain's Chicago Business
by John Flynn Rooney

The Cook County sheriff pursued a frivolous appeal as a delaying tactic in a case where jurors found that jail officers subjected inmates to unreasonable strip searches over a two-year period, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Wednesday dismissed an interlocutory appeal of a trial court's ruling that Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is not immune from any liability under the 11th Amendment.

"This appeal is substantively frivolous," Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote for the three-judge panel in Wednesday's decision. "It is nothing but a delaying tactic and deserves to be swiftly squelched."

The underlying class-action lawsuit challenged the manner in which prisoners were searched at intake. U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly presides over the class-action case.

In a ruling issued in September 2009, Kennelly declined to stay the proceedings in the lawsuit while Dart pursued the interlocutory appeal.

Dart asserted that a provision of the Illinois Administrative Code allegedly requiring that incoming prisoners be strip-searched transforms the county jailers who conduct those searches — as well as county officials who order them — into state actors.

As state actors, jailers and officials are protected from those claims that the manner in which the intake searches were conducted at the Cook County Jail from February 2007 to March 2009 violated the Constitution, Dart argued.

But Kennelly rejected that argument when Dart raised it at the end of trial.

The jury went on to return a verdict finding that the rights of the prisoners were violated by the manner in which the strip searches were performed.

In Kennelly's opinion issued last fall denying Dart's request for a stay, Kennelly described the sheriff's interlocutory appeal on the immunity issue frivolous.

The appeals court panel also rejected Dart's assertions about the state's Administrative Code.

"The sheriff is responsible for his own policies — and as a state actor (but not himself 'the state') for any unconstitutional policies that Illinois has directed him to implement," Easterbrook wrote for the panel. "This interlocutory appeal is dismissed because it is not from a 'final decision' and because it is frivolous. Any remaining arguments are open to review on appeal from this decision."

Judges William J. Bauer and Diane P. Wood joined in the 13-page opinion. Lee Mercado, et al. v. Thomas J. Dart, Sheriff of Cook County, No. 09-3092.

Michael Kanovitz of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago argued the case for the plaintiffs before the appeals court panel on April 5.

"It's a fantastic victory for the class, and it's exactly what we expected would happen," Kanovitz said of Wednesday's decision, adding that the class consists of between 500,000 and 600,000 members.

Christopher P. Keleher, a shareholder with Querrey & Harrow Ltd. in Chicago argued the case on Dart's behalf.

The lead attorney for Dart is Daniel F. Gallagher, another Querrey & Harrow shareholder. Gallagher could not be reached for comment early Thursday afternoon.

Recent Headlines

What Pritzker's minimum wage increase plan could mean for the suburbs
Monday, November 26, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County sheriff’s vehicle struck during ISP pursuit on I-294
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 'Tails' program offers redemption for inmates, dogs
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County correctional officer owns bar where security guard Jemel Roberson shot by cop, officials say
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

More than 2 months after sisters were killed in crash with Cook County sheriff's officer, family still waits for answers
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Jail guard’s retaliation suit can proceed
Monday, November 19, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

all news items

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