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:  
   
 
 

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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Editorial: Long lines outside courthouse are recipe for disaster

Monday, July 22, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times

A crowd of people milling around on a hot street waiting for a courthouse to open for the day is a recipe for trouble.

As reported in Wednesday’s Chicago Sun-Times, a crowd of about 80 was standing in muggy 82-degree heat at 9 a.m. on Tuesday because the branch courthouse at Grand and Central hadn’t opened.

The reason? A chronic shortage of available sheriff’s deputies means there aren’t enough people on hand to keep things running on schedule. Cook County officials should act quickly to make sure this doesn’t boil over into a dangerous situation.

According to a veteran sheriff’s employee, similar staffing shortages are hobbling the branch court at Harrison and Kedzie and, to a lesser degree, at the one at Western and Belmont.

As Cook County has trimmed its budget each year, the number of county employees has declined. Cara Smith, spokeswoman for Sheriff Tom Dart, said the sheriff has lost about 500 positions in court services over the past six years and can’t divert personnel from the Cook County Jail, where staffing is mandated by a court consent decree.

“We have limited resources throughout the whole system,” 
she said.

Kristen Mack, press secretary for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, said the county already has responded to the sheriff’s complaint that his office is understaffed. The county added 42 court deputy positions in the most recent fiscal year to alleviate that, she said.

But last week’s crowd at Grand and Central shows more needs to be done. One answer might be to consolidate some or all of the court’s five city neighborhood branches. Each branch has two courtrooms, one of which is used for bond calls and one for criminal cases, primarily misdemeanors. Even as some branch courts are overcrowded at times, others may finish up their work early and have no proceedings for the rest of the day while remaining open and staffed.

Although he’s never made a formal request, Dart has said he thinks the branch offices are inefficient and should be closed. For its part, the county last week agreed “we will sit down with them and look over the options,” Mack said.

The sheriff’s office also is studying ways to share deputies among courtrooms.

However, all the sheriff and the county can do is make a recommendation. Chief Judge Timothy Evans has the final say over whether a branch court can be closed.

There’s plenty of evidence this discussion is long overdue. Last month, a judge at Grand and Central had to step down from the bench, leave the courtroom and head to the lockup to request a prisoner. That’s a sheriff’s deputy’s job, but none was available.

Longtime defense attorney Dawn Projansky called the current situation “pure chaos” and said delays at the branch courtrooms slow down the whole system because they make lawyers late for calls at other courthouses.

This picture doesn’t look right. Crowds milling around in the street, creating a risk of altercations, because one branch courthouse is overburdened. Empty courtrooms at another that’s underused on a particular day. It’s time to put the whole system under a microscope and figure out how to make it more efficient.



Recent Headlines

Cook County chief judge pushes reopening dates back
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health narrows CEO field to 12, plans to open another building at jail for COVID-19 response
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Cook County Hospital is a stunning trauma survivor
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Suburban restaurants open for outdoor dining Friday. Here’s what to know.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Kaegi to cut assessments on homes, condos by 8 to 12 percent
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Why is My Park Closed? Some Chicagoans Complain of Losing Access to Parks That Should Be Open
Thursday, May 28, 2020
wttw

Here’s what will be different Friday, when most of the state (but not Chicago) moves into phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

First two Cook County judges test positive for COVID-19
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

First 2 Cook County Judges Test Positive for COVID-19
Thursday, May 28, 2020
WTTW News

Here’s what will be different Friday, when most of the state (but not Chicago) moves into phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

The Spin: Nation, Illinois, Cook County reach grim coronavirus death milestones |
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Tribune

How COVID will change your CTA ride
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County M.E.’s autopsies in less than five months surpass entire 2019 tally: ‘We do not believe that these deaths had to occur’
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

2 exonerated men file federal suits claiming Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors framed them for murder as teens
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Peoples Gas encourages customers to apply for financial assistance
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Folks Are In Limbo’: Cook County Court Shutdown Could Stretch Into July
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
WBEZ News

Chicago-area municipalities to rely on counties for CARE Act money
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
The Daily Line

Local governments set to get small slice of $4.9B coronavirus relief package headed to Illinois
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
The Daily Line

all news items

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