Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



On the safe side
Better, safer building for victims of domestic violence opens

Thursday, September 29, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

In Cook County's cramped domestic violence courthouse, victims sometimes get backed into corners by their attackers, who yell or plead with them to drop charges.The chaotic and dangerous scene in the building's crowded hallways should be only a memory after the unveiling today of a new custom-designed courthouse in Chicago's Near West Side community.

The new $51 million courthouse will host all criminal misdemeanor domestic violence cases in Chicago, some proceedings for felony domestic violence cases, and civil order of protection cases from throughout the county.

The old building at 13th Street and Michigan Avenue will shut down by Oct. 11, moving all cases to the new facility. Over three years, a 113-year-old warehouse was converted into the bright brick, glass and wood building at 555 W. Harrison St.

"It's the county's oldest building and its newest," said Elizabeth Melas, Cook County's deputy director of capital planning and policy. "We added an atrium and plaza to the north and made the back (of the building) the front. It's 90 percent new."

Last year, 26,954 orders of protection and 12,477 criminal domestic violence cases were filed in Cook County.

Along with "victim safe" waiting spaces, the new courthouse promises better child care, 10 spacious courtrooms and a combination of services not possible in the old office building on Michigan Avenue, which has served as the domestic violence courthouse for 28 years.

"The (old) building, architecturally, was not structured to be a court. They made it into a court," said Vickii Coffey, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network.

"It's an old building to boot," said Dawn Dalton, director of the Jane Addams Hull House Association's domestic violence court advocacy program. "Last week, we only had one elevator working, and they're very small to begin with."

The small elevators are more than an inconvenience. Dalton said some of the worst victim intimidation takes place there.

"If you're a victim and your abuser is sardined next to you ... the opportunity to continue to threaten that victim is just ripe," Dalton said.

Even when a victim's alleged attacker is in jail, Dalton said, "the abuser's family comes up to the victim and says things like, 'If you don't drop the charges, we're going to come after you.' It's a real volatile environment."

At the new courthouse, everyone coming in will be sorted by gender and status at the door by sheriff's staff. Victims will be allowed into a segregated lobby, where a battery of social and court services will be available. From there, they can take a private elevator up to separate waiting rooms.

"They don't need to go into the public space again until their case is called," Dalton said.

Also important to victims is what Melas called "one-stop shopping." While criminal cases are now heard at 1340 S. Michigan, civil court orders of protection are heard at 28 N. Clark St.

"Lots of times what happens is women may come to the court building not knowing what option they want to implement," Coffey said. "Once they get there, they may make that decision and then find this is not the place they can do it. And then that may be a reason not to pursue (action)."

Child care facilities also are being upgraded, Melas said, with an attached clinic that will screen children for physical and emotional problems.

The site of the new courthouse was controversial in 2002. County commissioners originally voted to build it downtown, along the Chicago River. But Mayor Richard Daley objected, saying the valuable site should stay on the tax rolls, and a courthouse didn't match his vision for riverfront development.

Although it meant more expense and an additional year, the county quickly agreed to the West Loop site, which is less accessible by public transportation than a downtown site.

But the building has opened on schedule and $13 million under budget.

"It's just a beautiful building," said Commissioner Deborah Sims, who led the committee overseeing the project. "If we haven't done anything else good this year, this building is a good building."



Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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