PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans orders the County Board to fund court operations

Released On 02/29/2008

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today issued the following statement:

"The Circuit Court of Cook County has the inherent authority and power to require the Cook County Board to provide court facilities, personnel and other resources reasonably necessary to enable it to perform its judicial duties with efficiency, independence and dignity. Should the County Board fail to adopt a budget for FY 2008, such funding will cease, effective 12 midnight tonight leaving the Circuit Court unable to perform its court operations on behalf of the people of Cook County, denying them access to justice.

"In light of these exigent circumstances, I have entered a general administrative order at 2:45 p.m. today that allows all court proceedings and court-related offices and agencies to continue to operate. Notwithstanding the fiscal needs of Cook County government, the court system must continue to operate at current capacity if we are to provide due process to all persons who come before the court and preserve the integrity and efficiency of our court system.

"The order, which becomes effective at 12:00 a.m., Saturday, March 1, 2008, (copy below) directs all employees of the Circuit Court of Cook County and its various divisions, as well as employees of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Office of the Sheriff, to report to work as scheduled.

"Employees of the Circuit Court of Cook County include those assigned to the following departments and programs: Adult Probation, Children’s Advocacy Rooms, Expedited Child Support, Forensic Clinical Services, Interpreter Services, the judiciary, Jury Administration, Juvenile Court Clinic, Juvenile Probation and Court Services, the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center Marriage and Family Counseling, Office of the Chief Judge, Parenting Education Program, Office of the Public Guardian, Social Service, child protection mediation, and grant-funded programs. These sections deliver services that are necessary for the court to perform its functions.

"The order also directs the Cook County Board to provide the necessary funds to allow the court and the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Office of the Sheriff to provide services at current levels.

"Historically, the President of the Cook County Board and the Commissioners have done an admirable job of providing the court with resources. However, in the event that they are unable to resolve their differences, this order will ensure access to justice and preserve public safety."

The Circuit Court of Cook County is one of the largest unified court systems in the country. As of December 1, 2007, a total of 975,185 cases were pending before the court. In FY 2007, the court’s total caseload consisted of 1,875,449 new cases filed, and 1,757,666 cases disposed.

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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS

General Administrative Order No.: 2008-01

Subject: Continued Access to Justice Pending Approval of County Budget

The Board of Commissioners of Cook County ("County Board") not having approved an annual budget for Cook County for the fiscal year beginning December 1, 2007, (hereinafter "FY2008") there is a significant possibility that the County Board may, for an unknown period of time, discontinue funding county operations at current levels. Such discontinued funding would cause the Circuit Court of Cook County to be unable to perform its court operations on behalf of the citizens of Cook County.

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that, "the Illinois Constitution contemplates [o]nly one unified court system operating statewide and does not contemplate nor does it authorize the exercise of any control over or permit the imposition of a burden on the judicial system by any local entity." Orenic v. Illinois State Labor Relations Bd., 127 Ill. 2d 453, 480 (1989).

Should the County Board fail to adopt an annual budget for FY2008 by Friday, February 29, 2008, this court has the inherent authority and power "to protect [itself] and require production of the facilities, personnel and resources reasonably necessary to enable [it] to perform [its] judicial functions with efficiency, independence and dignity," Knuepfer v. Fawell, 96 Ill. 2d 284, 293 (1983).

Therefore, in order to provide continued access to justice for the residents of Cook County,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

Effective 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2008,

1. Pursuant to the Counties Code, 55 ILCS 5/3-6023, the Sheriff of Cook County shall attend all sessions of the court at the times and places previously established by rule or order and obey the lawful orders and directions of the court, and shall maintain the security of the courthouses;

2. Pursuant to the Clerks of Courts Act, 705 ILCS 105/13, the Circuit Clerk of Cook County shall attend all sessions of the court at the times and places previously established by rule or order and do and perform all other duties pertaining to their offices, as may be required by law or the rules and orders;

3. Pursuant to the Counties Code, 55 ILCS 5/5-1106, the County Board of Cook County shall provide reasonable and necessary expenses for the use of the sheriff, circuit clerk, and judges of the circuit court, including but not limited to all operations of the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

4. All court operations at all court locations, including but not limited to, probation services, forensic clinical services, marriage and family counseling services, jury administration, expedited child support, children’s advocacy rooms, public guardian, interpreter services, Juvenile Court Clinic, child protection mediation services and all other operations or functions performed by employees of the Circuit Court of Cook County in the following departments and/or divisions: Adult Probation Department, Judiciary, Office of the Public Guardian, Office of the Chief Judge, Forensic Clinical Services, Social Service Department, Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and grant-funded programs will continue uninterrupted, as these operations and employees are necessary for the court to perform its functions.

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Dated this 29th day of February, 2008. This order shall be spread upon the records of this Court and published.

ENTERED:

___________________________

Timothy C. Evans

Chief Judge

Circuit Court of Cook County

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