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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Editorial: Illinois Supreme Court, help Cook County
Backlog of cases, jail overcrowding cheat defendants, crime victims and taxpayers

Friday, September 20, 2013
Chicago Tribune

When a backlog of criminal cases accumulated in New York City, court officials put a bulldog in charge: State Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango. In less than a year, she has turned a sluggish system into a fair but efficient assembly line of justice, disposing of hundreds of cases that had lingered in Bronx courts for two years or more.

That's precisely the outcome Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hopes to achieve in her latest effort to reduce the case backlog in Cook County. Impatient with Chief Judge Timothy Evans' hands-off approach to a slow-moving court system, Preckwinkle in a Sept. 12 letter to the Illinois Supreme Court asks for help:

"During my tenure, I have been disheartened to discover that our County's administration of justice is not in accordance with the standards the residents of the State of Illinois both deserve and are entitled to under the law," she writes. "In many aspects, Cook County is far behind many of our sister counties in the administration of court services."

Specifically, she wants the Supreme Court to assign a judge from outside Cook County to help clear the backlog of criminal cases, some of which have been meandering through the system for years. Preckwinkle also wants a member of the Supreme Court to oversee a commission that would make recommendations toward long-term solutions.

Cook County's case backlog and dangerously overcrowded jail aren't new problems. What is new is a County Board president taking an evidence-based step to involve the Supreme Court, which holds administrative and supervisory authority over Cook County's courts.

The Supreme Court hasn't said whether it will intervene. We hope it does.

As we outlined in an Aug. 29 editorial ("Judge Evans, be an enforcer"), Evans, who has served as chief judge since 2001, hasn't made the case backlog a priority:

The chief judge has made some creative reforms and has generally sound priorities. But what's sorely missing is a sense of urgency. He needs to be the enforcer on his judges; his judges need to be the enforcers in their courtrooms. For starters, those judges all need to put in a full day's work.

Evans doesn't lean on his judges to be more efficient. He prefers to let justice unfold at its own pace and blames prosecutors and defense attorneys for delaying cases.

That laissez faire leadership style is unfair to defendants, crime victims and taxpayers.

Evans also blames budgetary restraints for his slow-moving system. But as Preckwinkle points out in her letter to the Supreme Court, the assignment of five additional judges to the criminal courts hasn't reduced the backlog. Money won't solve this problem.

It's time for more aggressive action. That means Supreme Court intervention — and soon.

Evans might want to write off Preckwinkle's criticism as politically motivated. Their friction goes way back. When Evans served as a Chicago alderman, Preckwinkle ran against him three times and beat him in 1991.

But that's irrelevant. The statistical record on jail population and caseload inefficiency speaks for itself. More than 300 jail inmates have been waiting at least five years for their cases to conclude, according to Sheriff Tom Dart. Thousands more have been in jail for six months to five years while their cases lollygag through Evans' system. From 2007 to 2011, the jail served an average of 1,246 more inmates per day than in the previous five years. That costs taxpayers, as Preckwinkle often says, $143 per inmate each day.

We appreciate Preckwinkle's outreach to the Supreme Court. It's risky to stick your nose into a fellow elected official's jurisdiction. Most politicians are content to look away: It's his court. It's his system.

But this issue is too important to ignore.

Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court: Use your authority to appoint an outside judge. And please, choose a bulldog. Justice delayed is, yes, justice denied



Recent Headlines

Dart warns of 'dramatic increase' in accused gun offenders released on electronic monitors
Friday, February 23, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

all news items

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