FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chief Judge Evans announces major reorganization in Fifth Municipal District
Released On 06/10/2003
Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced he has begun a major reorganization of the court’s five suburban municipal districts. In the first steps of the reorganization, Chief Judge Evans will increase the number of cases heard in the Fifth Municipal District by moving two suburban municipalities from the Sixth Municipal District to the Fifth Municipal District, expanding the number of Chicago Police Districts having cases heard in the Fifth Municipal District from five to seven, and opening a fourth Criminal Division courtroom to hear felony drug trial cases.
Chief Judge Evans said, "The reorganization of the Fifth Municipal District will better serve the citizens of Cook County in many ways. Increasing the number of matters heard in the Fifth Municipal District will effect a more equitable allocation and use of the court’s resources, allowing the administration of justice to operate more efficiently.
"Overcrowding in two heavily burdened court facilities, the Sixth Municipal District courthouse in Markham and the Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California, will be reduced," said Chief Judge Evans. "Waiting time for court appearances should decrease for litigants and law enforcement officers alike. Also, the reorganization is cost effective. Existing courtrooms and personnel will be utilized, and no additional funding should be necessary."
Effective September 22, 2003, civil and criminal matters originating in the Villages of Tinley Park and Crestwood will be heard in the Fifth Municipal District courthouse in Bridgeview instead of the Sixth Municipal District courthouse in south suburban Markham. The new cases will be merged into existing calls in Bridgeview.
Chief Judge Evans will amend Subdivision 2.3 (a) of General Order of the Circuit Court Number 1.2, to reflect the transfer of municipalities from one district to the other. Civil matters pending in the Sixth Municipal District as of September 22, 2003, will remain assigned to that district until final disposition. All pending felony matters will likewise remain in the Sixth Municipal District until final disposition unless the sitting judge believes the individual case should be transferred to a Fifth Municipal District felony courtroom. Traffic and misdemeanor cases, whether pending or not, will be continued and transferred from the Sixth Municipal District to the Fifth Municipal District.
Also, effective July 14, 2003, Chief Judge Evans will open a fourth Criminal Division courtroom in the Bridgeview courthouse. The new courtroom’s caseload will consist exclusively of felony drug trial cases from seven Chicago Police Districts, which include the five police districts already assigned to the Fifth Municipal District and two new police districts that Criminal Division Presiding Judge Paul P. Biebel, Jr. will add. Judge Victoria A. Stewart, currently presiding over felony preliminary hearings in Branch 38, will be assigned to the new Bridgeview courtroom which joins four existing Criminal Division courtrooms dedicated to felony drug trial cases at 26th and California.