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Dart v. Evans v. Preckwinkle

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Chicago Tribune
by Eric Zorn

I've been meaning to get to this extraordinary spat on "Chicago Tonight" earlier this month. WTTW-Ch. 11 invited Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to discuss overcrowding at the Cook County Jail.

Feathers flew:

WTTW provided me with the following raw transcript, which I have tidied up a bit:

HOST PHIL PONCE: COOK COUNTY JAIL IS AT 97 PERCENT CAPACITY. S0 . WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE JAIL IS FULL?THERE HAVE BEEN CALLS TO RELEASE MORE ALLEGED OFFENDERS ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. SOME BELIEVE PUTTING MORE PRISONERS ON ANKLE BRACELETS IS A BAND-AID TO A LARGER PROBLEM. HERE TO LOOK AT THE STATE OF COOK COUNTY JAIL IS TIMOTHY EVANS CHIEF JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, AND SHERIFF TOM DART. WELCOME. SHERIFF, SINCE YOU ARE FOR WANT OF A BETTER TERM THE MOST IN THE TRENCHES ABOUT THIS, WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU REACH CAPACITY AT THE JAIL?

SHERIFF TOM DART: WELL, WE'RE RIGHT NOW GOING THROUGH A SERIES OF CHANGES TO DEAL WITH IT. WE ARE PRETTY MUCH OUT OF OPTIONS. WE HAVE BEEN FACED WITH A LAWSUIT FOR 30 YEARS ABOUT OVERCROWDING. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MANAGE THE LAST SIX YEARS. WE'VE HAD NOBODY ON THE FLOOR OTHER THAN IN OUR MENTAL HEALTH UNIT. WE'RE CLOSE TO GETTING OUT OF THIS. IF WE DO NOT ADDRESS THE OVERCROWDING ISSUE, THIS LAWSUIT THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 30 SOMETHING YEARS WILL CONTINUE AND LEAD TO THE TAXPAYERS PAYING FOR A NEW BUILDING BEING BUILT THAT'S ALL THE JUDGE HAS AS AN OPTION TO TRY TO FORCE US TO COMPLY.

PONCE: PRESIDENT PRECKWINKLE, TODAY YOU WROTE AN OP-ED SOME OF THE KEY THINGS THAT YOU THINK ARE NECESSARY, INCLUDING?

PRECKWINKLE: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR INVITING US. THIS IS A CRITICAL ISSUE, I THINK, FOR COOK COUNTY. IT SPEAKS TO THE OPERATION OF OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. WE HAVE CHALLENGES. 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO IN OUR JAILS ARE AWAITING TRIAL. AND 70% OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AWAITING TRIAL ARE AWAITING TRIAL FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES. SP THESE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF MURDER, RAPE, ROBBERY OR WHATEVER. OVERWHELMING MAJORITY ARE AWAITING TRIAL FOR THE CHARGE AGAINST THEM.

PONCE: YOU MENTIONED A COUPLE THINGS SPECIFICALLY IN THE PIECE. YOU WANT JUDGES TO ISSUE REASONABLE BONDS AND THE SHERIFF TO RELEASE MORE PEOPLE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. JUDGE EVANS, WHY DON'T JUDGES ISSUE MORE REASONABLE BONDS?

JUDGE TIMOTHY EVANS: WELL THEY DO ISSUE REASONABLE BONDS. THAT'S THE POINT. AND NOT ONLY DO THE BONDS HAVE TO BE REASONABLE, BUT WE HAVE 37 DIFFERENT CONSIDERATIONS THAT OUR JUDGES HAVE TO EMBRACE. THE CHARGE IS JUST ONE OF THEM, THERE ARE 36 OTHERS. THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ARREST. THE CONVICTION RECORD OF THE PERSON. WHETHER THERE IS A HISTORY OF FLEEING. WHETHER THE PERSON HAS FAILED TO SHOW UP IN THE PAST FOR THE COURT HEARING THAT HE'S SUPPOSED TO APPEAR IN. THESE ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. COMPARED TO THE CHARGES THEMSELVES.

PONCE: AND YET, MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC DECREASE IN OFFENDERS BEING RELEASED ON I-BONDS OR PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE AND ELECTRONIC MONITORING. WHY IS THAT?

EVANS: WELL, YOU HAVE TO ONCE AGAIN DIRECT THAT TO THE SHERIFF. OUR JUDGES HAVE BEEN PROVIDING INFORMATION SUFFICIENT FOR THE SHERIFF TO RELEASE PEOPLE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. IN FACT, OUR JUDGES HAVE EITHER ORDERED IT OR RECOMMENDED IT TO THE SHERIFF. AND WE FIND THAT ALMOST 50% OF THE TIME WHEN WE EITHER ORDER IT OR RECOMMEND IT, THE SHERIFF DOESN'T RELEASE A PERSON ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING.

 PONCE: SHERIFF DART, IS THAT THE CASE?

DART: IT IS NOT TRUE. I'VE WALKED THE JUDGE THROUGH THESE NUMBERS. 88% OF THE PEOPLE THEY ORDERED US TO PUT ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING, WE DID PUT THEM ON. THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WE DID NOT WAS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE A HOUSE TO GO TO. THEY BONDED THEMSELVES OUT. OR THEY HAD -- THEY DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE JAIL. BELIEVE IT OR NOT WE HAVE SOME OF THSOE. PONCE: WHY WOULD SOMEBODY NOT WANT TO LEAVE JAIL? DART: EITHER GANG-RELATED ISSUES, THEY WANT TO STAY WITH THEIR BUDDIES OR THEY WANT TO START BUILDING UP TIME BECAUSE THEY GET TIME CONSIDERED SERVED. EVERYBODY THE JUDGES HAVE BEEN GIVING US TO PUT ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING OTHER THAN THE SMALLEST GROUP, ONCE AGAIN, I CAN THROW SOMEONE IN A HOUSE AND SAY, LISTEN, YOU ARE TAKING HIM. IF A GUY SAYS I'M NOT GOING, I CAN'T FORCE HIM TO. I'VE EXPLAINED TO THE JUDGE JUDGE NUMBERS WERE MISINTERPRETED THERE. WERE NUMBERS OUR OFFICE HAVE GIVEN, I'VE WALKED THE JUDGE THROUGH THEM. THE REALITY IS I DO PUT OUT THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING THAT ORDERED TO DO THAT. LATELY, WE'VE SEEN A DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ORDERED. IT IS NOT A LEGAL ORDER, I NEED A COURT ORDER NOT A RECOMMENDATION. OTHERWISE I CAN TAKE EVERYTHING AS A RECOMMENDATION AROUND THERE AND LET PEOPLE GO, KEEP PEOPLE AS LONG AS I DECIDE. I'M NOT THE AUTHORITY TO DO THAT.

PONCE: JUDGE EVANS, PRESUMABLY JUDGES ARE THE AUTHORITY AND PAID TO MAKE THOSE TOUGH DECISIONS. WHY AREN'T THEY ORDERING MORE INSTEAD OF JUST RECOMMENDING?

EVANS: WELL, WE ORDERED PEOPLE TO BE RELEASED ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING FOR AT LEAST THREE YEARS. YOU HEARD THE SHERIFF INDICATE THAT HE DOESN'T FOLLOW THOSE ORDERS. HE USES HIS OWN DETERMINATION AS TO WHO TO PUT ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING.

DART: I SAID THE OPPOSITE. I SAID I HAVE FOLLOWED ALL THOSE ORDERS EXCEPT WHEN SOMEBODY WILL NOT BE

EVANS: HE HAS NOT DONE THAT.

DART: THAT'S NOT TRUE. EVANS: TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, A PERIOD OF A YEAR AND A HALF WE CHECKED JUST TO SEE, WE HAD ORDERED 10,000 -- 10,200 TO BE PLACED ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING OUT OF THAT 10,200, 4,400 WERE NOT PLACED ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. HE CAN'T DENY THAT

 DART: THOSE ARE MY NUMBERS AND THEY HAVE BEEN MISINTERPRETED NUMBERS.

EVANS: EITHER YOU PUT THEM ON OR YOU DIDN'T. I'M SAYING YOU DIDN'T.

DART: WE PUT THE ONES ON THAT HAD A HOUSE. I CAN KNOCK AND SAY YOU'RE TAKING HIM. WE HAVE A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE RUN OUT OF RELATIVES WHO WILL TAKE THEM IN THEIR HOUSE. I'VE BEEN OUT OF MY OWN BUDGET I'VE RENTED BEDS AT THREE LOCATIONS TO PUT THEM IN. NOW WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO PUT PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE A HOUSE, I OUT OF MY OWN BUDGET PUTTING THEM INTO HOUSES. I'M TRYING EVERYTHING I CAN.

PONCE: TONI PRECKWINKLE, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS DISAGREEMENT?

PRECKWINKLE: FIRST OF ALL, BEFORE I WAS ELECTED THERE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT COOPERATION BETWEEN ALL THE ACTORS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT, WE SAID WE NEEDED TO GET EVERYBODY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CONSTELLATION, PUBLIC SAFETY TOGETHER. WE HAD REGULAR MEETINGS TO TALK ABOUT THE COMMITMENT THAT EVERYBODY HAS MADE TO TRY TO REDUCE THE JAIL POPULATION. LET ME SAY, THERE'S SOMETHING THAT EVERY ACTOR CAN DO. NOT JUST THE SHERIFF AND THE CHIEF JUDGE WHO ARE HERE, BUT THE STATE'S ATTORNEY, THE CLERK, PUBLIC DEFENDER.

PONCE: MY UNDERSTANDING IS ONE OF YOUR CRITICISMS OF THE SHERIFF IS HE HAS THE AUTHORITY, IN THEORY, TO RELEASE 1500 PEOPLE UNDER ELECTRONIC MONITORING AND THAT HAS BEEN A CONCERN OF YOURS.

PRECKWINKLE: RIGHT. THE SHERIFF IS RIGHT, THERE WAS A PRECIPITOUS DROP THE END OF LAST YEAR IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ORDERED TO ELECTRONIC MONITORING BY THE JUDGES. NEITHER HE NOR I CAN UNDERSTANDING THAT. THE SHERIFF, ACCORDING TO A FEDERAL COURT ORDER IN MARCH OF 2011 MAY RELEASE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING, THAT'S ANKLE BRACELETS, PRETRIAL DETAINEES, THAT'S PEOPLE WAITING TRIAL, TO PREVENT OVERCROWDING AND REDUCE THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATES STEMMING FROM OVERCROWDING IN THE COOK COUNTY JAIL, NO MORE THAN 1500 PRETRIAL DETAINEES. PEOPLE AWAITING TRIAL. SO THE SHERIFF CAN ORDER PEOPLE HIMSELF ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. AND THE JUDGES WERE ORDERING, LOTS OF FOLKS TO ELECTRONIC MONITORING. AND AT THE END OF LAST YEAR FOR REASONS THAT ARE INEXPLICABLE TO ME OR THE SHERIFF THAT NUMBER FELL OFF A CLIFF.

PONCE: SO YOU ARE SAYING THERE IS FAULT ON BOTH SIDES REGARDING THE TWO PEOPLE --

PRECKWINKLE: I'M SAYING THERE ARE THINGS THAT EVERYBODY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM CAN DO TO REDUCE THE POPULATION IN THE JAIL AND WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.

PONCE: LET'S START WITH THE SHERIFF. BACK TO THE ISSUE OF 1500 PEOPLE THAT YOU IN THEORY COULD RELEASE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING.

DART: THE ORDER LIMITS ME. THEY HAVE TO IF IT INTO A BOX. THEY CAN'T BE CHARGED WITH A VIOLENT CRIME OR HAVE A VIOLENT CRIME IN THEIR BACKGROUND. THAT IMMEDIATELY CONTRACTS THE PEOPLE THAT I CAN PERSONALLY RELEASE.

PONCE: SO YOU DON'T HAVE 1500?

DART: I DON'T.

 PRECKWINKLE: I DISAGREE WITH HIS INTERPRETATIN.

DART: THERE'S A MISCONCEPTION ON WHO'S IN MY JAIL. 85% OF THE PEOPLE IN MY JAIL HAVE AT LEAST ONE VIOLENT CRIME IN THEIR BACKGROUND. MOST OF 'EM, THE AVERAGE IS FOR VIOLENT CRIMES. SO THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT I HAVE IS AN OPTION EITHER BY THE COURT OR COMMON SENSE THAT I CAN RELEASE IS SEVERELY LIMITED. THE ORDER IS VERY SPECIFIC WHO I CAN LET OUT. AND WE HAVE TWO RETIRED JUDGES THAT I HIRED OURSELVES TO EVALUATE CASES THAT IF IT POSSIBLY IN THAT CATEGORY. THEY GO THROUGH THOSE CASES AND THEY'VE RELEASED 800 PEOPLE AS A RE SULT OF THAT EVALUATION. WE'VE BEEN DOING IT. I CAN'T JUST LET EVERYONE GO!

PONCE: JUDGE EVANS HOW ABOUT PRESIDENT PRECKWINKLE'S ASSERTION THAT THE DROP IN THE NUMBER OF ELECTRONIC MONITORING CASES HAVE DROPPED PRECIPITOUSLY FOR INEXPLICABLE REASONS?

EVANS: THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT JUDGES MAKE DECISIONS BASED UPON BAIL NOT OVERCROWDING. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEALING WITH THE OVERCROWDING ISSUE IS THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH NOT THE JUDICIAL.

PONCE: BUT WHY THE DROP IN THE ELECTRONIC MONITORING?

EVANS: HERE'S THE POINT, WHEN OUR JUDGES WERE ORDERING ELECTRONIC MONITORING THE SHERIFF WAS NOT FOLLOWING THOSE ORDERS. WE WERE ADVISED THAT HE WANTED RECOMMENDATIONS. SO WE ARE GIVING HIM RECOMMENDATIONS. THESE ARE STILL COURT ORDERS. A STATEMENT BY A JUDGE CONCERN WHO SHOULD GO ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. AS TO BAIL, NOT OVERCROWDING. THE OVERCROWDING ISSUE IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. AS PRESIDENT PRECKWINKLE SAID THE SHERIFF HAS A DIRECT ORDER FROM A THREE-JUDGE PANEL TO RELIEVE OVERCROWDING BY RELEASING UP TO 1500 PEOPLE, AT A TIME. THESE ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS THAT HE'S REFERRING TO ARE NOT APPLICABLE. HE'S ONLY RELEASING PEOPLE THAT OUR JUDGES HAVE LOOKED AT FIRST. HE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY ON HIS OWN TO RELEASE PEOPLE TO RELIEVE OVERCROWDING AS THE COURT ORDER SAYS.

PRECKWINKLE: EVERY ACTOR IN THE PUBLIC SAFETY ARENA COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THIS PROBLEM, IF THEY CHOSE. AND MY CHARGE IS TO TRY TO GET PEOPLE TO DO WHAT THEY ARE ABLE TO DO. WHICH IS WHY I'VE CALLED ON THE SHERIFF TO RELEASE MORE PEOPLE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING. WHY I'VE ASKED THE JUDGE WHY IT IS THERE WAS THIS PRECIPITOUS FALL. IT WASN'T AS IF THERE WAS -- FOR MANY MONTHS AFTER MY ELECTION, THERE WAS AN INCREASE EVERY MONTH IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON ELECTRONIC MONITORING AND BEFORE MY ELECTIONS -- FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS THAT WAS HAPPENING THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT STOPPED.

PONCE: WHEN YOU SAY STOPPED, YOU MEAN FLAT OUT ZERO?

PRECKWINKLE: PRETTY MUCH ZERO.

PONCE: ISN'T THAT UNUSUAL, JUDGE?

EVANS: DO BELIEVE THAT PHIL?

DART: IT IS THE TRUTH. PONCE: TWO OF THE THREE PEOPLE ON THIS PANEL ARE SAYING --

EVANS: IF YOU TAKE THE RECORD YOU WILL SEE OUR JUDGES EVEN WITHOUT THE ORDER, IN FEBRUARY FOR EXAMPLE, RECOMMENDED OVER 481 --

DART: RECOMMENDED, NOT ORDERED.

EVANS: RIGHT BECAUSE HE WASN'T FOLLOWING THE ORDERS THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING.

PONCE: SHERIFF, WERE YOU FOLLOWING THE ORDERS OR WEREN'T YOU?

DART: ABSOLUTELY I WAS. THE NUMBERS I GAVE HIM THEY CHOSE TO MISINTERPRET, I TRIED WALKING THEM THROUGH, SAYING --

[ TALKING OVER EACH OTHER ]

DART: JUDGE I'M NOT DENYING THE FACT, I CAN'T FORCE SOMEBODY TO TAKE A GUY INTO HIS HOUSE WHO SAYS I DO NOT WANT HIM IN THE HOUSE.

[ TALKING OVER EACH OTHER ]

EVANS: YOU HAVEN'T FOLLOWED THE FEDERAL COURT'S ORDER.

>> THE FEDERAL COURT ORDER IS RESTRICTIVE. THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SAYS, YOU KNOW THAT.

>> THAT'S WHAT IT SAYS, SHE JUST READ TO YOU WHAT IT SAYS.

PONCE: YOU WANTED TO SAY SOMETHING?

PRECKWINKLE: WE HAVE SOME CHALLENGES IN OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, CLEARLY. THE POINT FOR OUR VIEWERS TO REMEMBER IS THE JAILHOUSES OVERWHELMINGLY, PEOPLE WHO ARE WAITING TRIAL, THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE CONVICTED OF THE CHARGE THAT THEY ARE IN THERE FOR. THEY ARE WAITING TRIAL. WHAT I USUALLY SAY IS THE JAIL IS AT THE INTERSECTION OF RACISM AND POVERTY. BECAUSE THE JAIL POPULATION DOESN'T REFLECT THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME WITH WHICH YOU ARE ACCUSED BUT YOUR ABILITY TO PAY YOUR BOND . LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE ACCUSED OF SERIOUS CRIMES ARE OUT BECAUSE THEY CAN PAY THEIR BAIL. PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR RETAIL THEFT, FOR PROSTITUTION, FOR DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE, BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PAY THEIR BAIL. THAT COMES BACK TO THE QUESTION OF HOW WELL MANAGED OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS IN PARTICULAR, THE TIME IT TAKES TO DISPOSE OF CASES. IN THAT WE ARE NOT DOING VERY WELL IN COOK COUNTY.

PONCE: ON THAT POINT, IN BROOKLYN, OUR UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THERE CASES ARE REVIEWED WITHIN 24 HOURS. WHY NOT HERE? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A CASE TO BE REVIEWED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT SOMEBODY SHOULD STAY IN JAIL?

PRECKWINKLE: WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE DONE, HAVING LOOKED AT THE SYSTEM, A MOTION TO CONSIDER COURT. BOND IS DETERMINED. WE OFTEN HAVE MOSTLY WE HAVE PEOPLE IN JAIL WHO CANNOT MAKE BOND, RIGHT? SO WE'VE ASKED FOR 48 HOURS LATER TO HAVE A MOTION TO RECONSIDER COURT. THAT COURT IS NOW IN PLACE. WE'RE LOOKING AT WHETHER OR NOT THE BOND IS REASONABLE AND WHETHER PEOPLE CAN PAY IT IN 48 HOURS. WE HAVE TO REMEMBER, JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED BOTH FOR THE VICTIM AND FOR THE ACCUSED. WE NOW HAVE PEOPLE IN JAIL ON AN AVERAGE OF 57 DAYS.

PONCE: WHAT DOES THAT COST, BY THE WAY?

PRECKWINKLE: $143 A DAY. EXTRAORDINARILY EXPENSIVE. IF WE HAD THE LENGTH OF STAY IN 2013 THAT WE HAD IN 2007 WE WOULD HAVE 2,000 FEWER PEOPLE IN JAIL THAT GOES TO THE MANAGEMENT OF OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. WE NEED TO DISPOSE OF THESE CASES MORE QUICKLY. AND HAVE, AS A RESULT FEWER PEOPLE IN JAIL.

PONCE: JUDGE EVANS?

EVANS: I WISH WE COULD ALL ROLL BACK THE TIME, BUT WE CAN'T. WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACTS AS THEY ARE NOW. SHE TALKS ABOUT 2007, THIS IS 2013. WE KNOW THAT THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT HAS REASSERTED ITSELF THAT THIS IS A DANGEROUS TIME. AND ONCE AGAIN, THE CHARGES ARE NOT THE ONLY CONSIDERATION. WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ALL OF THOSE FACTORS THAT I MENTIONED EARLIER. AND WITH RESPECT TO THIS 57 DAYS THAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT, THE PRESIDENT SHOULD KNOW THAT IS NOT A REAL FIGURE. THAT TAKES INTO CONSIDERATION PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE TO TRIAL, EVEN ON MURDER CASES, THAT'S ALL AVERAGED IN THERE. IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, WHEN IS IT THAT THESE MATTERS ARE CONSIDERED? THEY ARE CONSIDERED WITHIN 24 HOURS OF THE ARREST. PERSON WHO IS ARRESTED TONIGHT WILL BE GIVEN A HEARING TOMORROW MORNING. SO ITS ALL WITHIN THAT SAME 24 HOURS. THEN IN ADDITION TO THAT, WHAT OUR JUDGES DO IS THEY HAVE TO BALANCE THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED, WITH TWO OTHER FACTORS AND THAT IS THE SAFETY TO THE COMMUNITY. SECONDLY, WHETHER THE DEFENDANT WILL SHOW UP IN COURT WHEN HE'S SUPPOSED TO. AND OUR JUDGES DO THAT. THAT'S WHAT THE BAIL HEARING IS ABOUT. THEY BALANCE THOSE TWO ISSUES. THEY DO IT EXTREMELY WELL. WE DON'T MAKE THE LAW, WE FOLLOW THE LAW. THE STATE LEGISLATURE

PRECKWINKLE: 70% OF THE PEOPLE IN JAIL ARE AWAITING TRIAL FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES, 70%.

 PONCE: DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT ASSERTION JUDGE?

EVANS: WE DON'T HAVE CONTROL OVER WHAT CHARGES THE PERSON RECEIVES NOR WHO IS ARRESTED. WHAT WE HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT IS ALL 37 OF THE FACTORS. WHETHER THEY'VE BEEN CHARGED WITH A NONVIOLENT CRIME OR NOT, THEY STILL HAVE A HISTORY. WE HAVE TO -- WE CAN'T IGNORE THE HISTORY WHICH IS WHAT MY TWO COLLEAGUES HERE WOULD LIKE US TO CONSIDER DOING. WE CAN'T.

DART; WE HAVEN'T SUGGESTED THAT.

PRECKWINKLE: NEITHER OF US ARE SAYING THAT EVANS: WE HAVE TO FOLLOW WHAT THE STATUTE SAYS. THE STATUTE SAYS THE CHARGE IS ONLY ONE FACTOR. PRECKWNKLE: THE JUDGE HAS GREAT DISCRETION IN THE BOND. I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE BONDS DON'T REFLECT THE -- [ TALKING OVER EACH OTHER ]

EVANS: THE DISCRETION THAT YOU TALK ABOUT IS SIMPLY FOLLOWING THE LAW THAT THE STATUTE REQUIRES.

PONCE: QUESTION, THE THREE OF YOU AT THIS TABLE NOW, SITTING, TAKING, EXCHANGING IDEAS, DIFFERENT VIEW POINTS, CLEARLY. HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET TOGETHER FACE-TO-FACE? SHERIFF DART?

DART: JUDGE EVANS WE'RE IN FRONT OF JUDGE KENDALL THREE WEEKS AGO TALKING ABOUT THESE ISSUES. THE PRESIDENT AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THESE ISSUES NUMEROUS TIMES.

PONCE; ARE THE THREE OF YOU COMMUNICATING IN SUCH A WAY SO THESE ISSUES DON'T COME TO THE FLOOR LIKE THIS? WHERE THERE IS BASIC DISAGREEMENT OVER BASIC FACTS.

>> THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE, CLEARLY. EACH OF US COMES AT THIS FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. MY OBLIGATION IS TO TRY TO SEE THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM RUNS AS FAIRLY AND EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE. CLEARLY THAT'S A CHALLENGE. BUT AGAIN, I WOULD SAY, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER, MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN JAIL, THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY, HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED OF THE CRIME THEY ARE ACCUSED, 90% OF THE PEOPLE ARE AWAITING TRIAL. 70% ARE THERE FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES.

PONCE: I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE SHERIFF AND THE JUDGE SOMETHING A CHANCE TO SAY SOMETHING QUICKLY.

DART: THE ONE ISSUE WE HAVE NOT TALKED ABOUT IS THAT I HAVE OVER 2,000 PEOPLE IN MY CUSTODY WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS. I'M THE LARGEST MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW THAT IS SCANDALOUS. WE'VE CRIMINALIZED THE ISSUE OF MENTAL ILLNESS. MANY OF THEM SHOULD NOT BE THERE. THEY SHOULD BE IN ALTERNATIVE SETTINGS. WE ARE DOING SOME OF THAT OURSELVES WE HAVE TO GET OUT IN FRONT OF THIS, SOON.

PONCE: JUDGE EVANS?

EVANS: YES, I'M PREPARED TO WORK WITH MY COLLEAGUES HERE. MY DOOR IS OPEN TO THEM AT ANY TIME. AND I SIMPLY WANT TO HAVE IT ESTABLISHED THAT THE JUDICIARY IS READY, WILLING AND ABLE TO CARRY OUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY ON BAIL. AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCH MUST CARRY OUT THEIR RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES IN TERMS OF RELIEVING OVERCROWDING. THAT'S WHY THE CASE IS IN FEDERAL COURT. INVOLVING THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. NOT THE JUDICIAL BRANCH:

PRECKKWINKLE: ACTUALLY, I'M NOT REPRESENTED IN THE SUIT BUT I WILL BE SHORTLY.

PONCE: JUDGE, PRESIDENT, SHERIFF, THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.



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