New court initiative aimed at keeping dangerous drivers off the road - Traffic offenders’ nationwide driving court record data to be available at sentencing

Released On 08/23/2013

Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County Timothy C. Evans announced that, for the first time ever, prosecutors throughout Cook County will receive data from nationwide court records for traffic offenders enabling them to provide judges with better information at the time of sentencing for minor traffic cases, thanks to a collaboration between the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Illinois Secretary of State and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

"From the judges’ viewpoint, this is a tremendous leap forward in their ability to help keep the public safe by keeping dangerous drivers off the road. Judges hearing traffic matters rely on prosecutors to provide the most complete information possible at the time of disposition and sentencing,” said Chief Judge Evans. “Our goal is to ensure that prosecutors working in traffic courtrooms throughout the Circuit Court receive comprehensive information, so that judges can take it into account before exercising their discretion,” said Chief Judge Evans.  

Chief Judge Evans and Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Dorothy Brown announced that in September, the Clerk’s office will add important information from the Secretary of State’s database to the Clerk’s recidivism sheets for offenders. This means that prosecutors will have comprehensive information to provide to judges even in minor traffic cases. A recidivism sheet is routinely provided to city, village and state prosecutors with the countywide daily minor traffic calls. The Secretary of State’s database contains information from public court records from all Illinois counties as well as all 50 states and tracks the number of traffic convictions, types of sentences and other dispositions an individual offender has accumulated, which includes dispositions of supervision. Previously, the Clerk’s recidivism sheets reflected only an offender’s Cook County court record data. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office already has access to the Secretary of State’s database for major traffic offenses, including DUIs and driving on a suspended license. 

The expanded drivers’ information is the result of discussions between Chief Judge Evans’s staff and representatives of the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney and the Office of the Chicago Corporation Counsel, which prosecute traffic offenses. Chief Judge Evans organized an agreement between representatives of the offices of Clerk Brown and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, with input from judges hearing traffic matters, to permit the release of the statewide and nationwide court record data. “I especially thank Secretary White and Clerk Brown for their dedicated involvement in this effort,” Chief Judge Evans said.  

Clerk Brown said she welcomed the opportunity to work with Chief Judge Evans on the initiative, noting, “I am excited about the potential this improvement has to make on public safety. I am always delighted to work with Chief Judge Evans and look forward to collaborating with him on other ways to enhance services my office offers to the court and its users.”

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