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Disorder in the Court

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times
by Michael Sneed

Out of Order!

Overruled, undermanned, and bench-pressed!

The big question still remains!

Why does Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans continue to employ Jesus Reyes, the man he appointed in 2005 to run the probation nightmare on 26th Street?

In an unprecedented move Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed an administrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County to overhaul the bollixed pre-trial services and adult probation department run by Reyes, who was abruptly dismissed Monday.

Despite Reyes’ dismissal from that job, Evans is now keeping Reyes on as a court policy advisor.

Reyes’ removal came days before the release of an incendiary report by the Illinois Supreme Court detailing egregious probation and pre-trial practices — including how judges were inadequately informed about which defendants to incarcerate or release while their cases are adjudicated.

“[Evans] hired [Reyes], he kept him, he ignored the complaints being lodged against him,” said a top source familiar with the court audit, which blasted the court system’s lack of institutional leadership.

It gets worse.

Jack Hecimovich, a former deputy probation chief who worked under Reyes before his retirement, tells Sneed: “We were told not to deal with the FBI!

“We handle a lot of difficult cases, but he didn’t want us to share information or work with the FBI or police in helping them with getting guns off the street. Although we did anyway.

“We’d get information from suspects; probationers going through the probation and pre-trial system; but it was like Reyes wanted us to close our eyes,” added Hecimovich.

“I worked there for 33 ½ years, but Reyes was the worst.”

Hecimovich also stated: “There was also a specific illegal immigration ordinance passed by the county which said we couldn’t deport anybody until they were convicted. Reyes said not to deport anyone even if they were convicted. He said the ordinance was invalid for our department.”

Retired Circuit Court Judge Dan Locallo tells Sneed: “Reyes should have been booted out a long time ago.

“We could have done more to take the guns off the streets, but I was told by a friend of mine in the probation department Reyes was handcuffing his probation officers.

“We could have done more to take guns off the street and solve crimes. The gang probation unit was working with the FBI to do just that. Guys on probation don’t want to go to the joint. So they try to work a deal by finding ways to locate illegal arms or solve homicides.

“When my friend said he was told not to cooperate with the FBI and police, I almost fell over.”

A second Sneed probation source, who is not retired and asked to remain anonymous, stated:

“Reyes did not want us or allow us to work with any federal, state or local agencies. He forbade us. We even had to ask permission to go talk to a judge. But we did anyway. We were chastised and beaten down so many times. No one can understand. It defies explanation.

“He never wanted to sign his name to anything. Now they are putting him in charge of court policy? It staggers the imagination.”

Reyes did not respond to telephone messages left for him at work and with Evans. Evans declined to discuss Reyes.



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