Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  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.
   
     
     
     



The Laquan McDonald Case and the Need for Court Reform
Enhancing the fairness, effectiveness, and independence of the courts are critical goals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Chicago Appleseed Fund For Justice
by Malcolm Rich

The police shooting death of Laquan McDonald has thrust Chicago into the national spotlight. Chicagoans and observers nationwide are expressing serious doubts about the transparency and accountability--and ultimately, the fairness and effectiveness-of our criminal justice system. One thing is clear: this tragic loss of life, and city officials' wholly inadequate responses to it, is the product of multiple systemic failures. To prevent such human catastrophes in the future, we must look at the criminal justice system as a whole. We need to see how system is failing the community, and also to understand what kind of solutions are needed.

The Collaboration for Justice--the joint research and advocacy effort of Chicago Appleseed and the Chicago Council of Lawyers--is dedicated to making courts more effective and more fair. Maintaining the independence of the court system is critical to these efforts. Our courts play a vital role in checking the abuse of power. But to do so effectively, courts must operate in a transparent and evidence-based manner. This enables the community to see what is working and what is not working. It allows us to have the wherewithal and the support to bring about necessary court reforms, while at the same time recognizing and praising strengths.

Here at the Chicago Appleseed and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, we are aiming to bring Cook County Courts into a new era. We seek to introduce system-wide changes that enable the Courts to function fairly and effectively, and to successfully handle the burgeoning array of social problems they are confronted with every day. In particular, we are addressing two broad areas of concern that the Laquan McDonald case has brought to light: 1) the need for a more fair and equal court system, and 2) the need for a more independent and accountable court system.

The changes we are supporting to bring about a fair and equal court system include:

  • Expanding the Access to Community Treatment approach to criminal justice, which diverts individuals with criminal records into community-based treatment, thus breaking the cycle of arrest to penitentiary.
  • Investing in probation services that enable people to stay out of jail, rather than be punished when they have any level of relapse.
  • Eliminating cash bond so that defendants not deemed a risk to society can stay out of jail, while those who do pose a threat remain behind bars, pending trial.
  • Preventing the imposition of excessive court costs, fines, and fees, particularly when litigants are indigent and when these "taxes" are not related to the case at hand.
  • Reducing the length of pretrial detention by enabling the Chicago Police Department to conduct field testing of drug-related evidence.
  • Strengthening the funding of our court system and encouraging public/private partnerships to invest in promising innovations for the future.
  • Improving our family law courts by providing to all persons equally the effective and efficient determination of child support, visitation, and related issues.

The changes we are supporting to bring about an independent and accountable court system include:

  • Increasing accountability by ensuring that all court proceedings are recorded with court reporters or court recording equipment.
  • Enhancing the quality of the court system by providing for electronic survey and interview-based evaluations of judges and other court participants that are not tied to the retention election system, and which identify specific strengths, weaknesses, and improvement plans.
  • Supporting independent-minded judges who step up to make courageous decisions in an effort to protect all members of society.
  • Providing for data-driven decision-making by the courts by expanding the use of accurate data collection and analysis by trained and certified court administrators.

Our Cook County courts face a monumental challenge. They must deal with huge numbers of people who look to the courts for fair and effective adjudication. In addition, at a time when our social safety net is shredded by budget cuts, our community increasingly looks to the courts to handle a wide range of social ills and community injustices. We must provide our court system with the resources and attention it needs and deserves. It remains our check against the abuse of power; it has become our community problem solver. We must ensure that our court system succeeds. And we must do all we can to prevent the failures of the justice system that the Laquan McDonald case so disturbingly illustrates.

__________________________

Malcolm Rich is the Executive Director of the Collaboration for Justice.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Could blockchain technology transform homebuying in Cook County — and beyond?
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Forest Preserves probe cop’s response to Puerto Rican harassment complaint
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Berrios tweaks formula; home assessments rise on North Side, fall on South Side
Sunday, July 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

After months of delay, Cook County begins electronic filing for civil cases
Monday, July 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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