Chief Judge Evans acts to strengthen confidence in Cook County judiciary Released on 5/9/2012 2:10:59 PM
Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced that he will reassign four judges whose judicial conduct has been the subject of recent publicized reports and arrange for them to receive mentoring from experienced judges. He also announced he has appointed two new supervising judges to provide improved management and oversight of the Criminal Branch Courts of the First Municipal District (Chicago), where three of the four judges had been serving.
Chief Judge Evans said, “I am taking these measures pending the completion of an internal inquiry into the conduct of these judges. I know that an overwhelming majority of the circuit court’s 428 judges work extremely hard to maintain the public’s confidence.”
“I do not want any unacceptable behavior of a few judges to undermine the credibility and integrity of our entire system of justice,” said Chief Judge Evans.
The four judges, their reassignments and the judges from whom they will receive mentoring are:
- Judge Gloria Chevere, transferred from conducting felony preliminary hearings in Branch 44 at 3150 West Flournoy Street to hearing misdemeanor and ordinance offenses in Branch 34 at 155 West 51st Street, mentored by Judge Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section;
- Judge Jim Ryan, transferred from conducting felony preliminary hearings in Branch 48 at 155 West 51st Street to hearing misdemeanor and ordinance offenses and the assignment/jury trial call in Branch 46 at 555 West Harrison Street, mentored by Judge James F. Flannery, Jr. of the Law Division;
- Judge Frank DeBoni, transferred from conducting felony preliminary hearings and hearing public housing matters in Branch 42 at 2452 West Belmont Avenue to conducting felony preliminary hearings in Branch 50 at 5555 West Grand Avenue, mentored by First District Appellate Court Justice Sebastian T. Patti; and
- Judge Cynthia Brim, transferred from the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview to the Sixth Municipal District in Markham, mentored by Judge Camille E. Willis of the Sixth Municipal District.
Chief Judge Evans noted that he expects the realignment of assignments, coupled with the oversight provided through his appointment of the new supervising judges, will result in increased judicial accountability.
To that end, Chief Judge Evans has appointed Judge Michelle D. Jordan as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Branch Courts of the First Municipal District, which hear all misdemeanor and ordinance offenses that originate in the city of Chicago and conduct all preliminary hearings for felonies that originate in the city of Chicago except those heard in the Criminal Court Building at 26th and California. In addition to supervising the 11 Criminal Branch judges who are assigned to the courtrooms located in each of the five (5) Chicago Police Department Area Headquarters and the Domestic Violence Courthouse at 555 West Harrison Street, she will continue in her current assignment conducting felony preliminary hearings in Branch 38 at 727 East 111th Street. Judge Jordan was elected to the bench in 2004. Prior to becoming a judge, Jordan served as chief of the Environmental Control Division in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and as a special assistant United States attorney in the United States Department of Justice.
Chief Judge Evans also announced the appointment of Associate Judge Daniel T. Gillespie as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Branch Courts located in the Criminal Court Building at 26th and California, which includes Central Bond Court (Chicago). Judge Gillespie will supervise the nine (9) judges assigned to Central Bond Court, which convenes every day of the year, and to Branch 57 (felony narcotics preliminary hearings), Branch 66 (homicide/sex related felony court), Branch 98 (felony indictment call), and Branch 2 (traffic prisoner call).
Elected an associate judge in June 1998, Judge Gillespie was most recently assigned to the First Municipal District where, in addition to hearing a civil trial call, he served in many supervisory capacities, including acting supervising judge overseeing seven (7) judges assigned to the non-jury torts/contracts section. His previous assignments included hearing criminal matters in the Second Municipal District. Prior to becoming a judge, Gillespie served as an assistant Illinois attorney general, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney and an assistant Cook County public defender.
The transfers and supervising judge appointments are effective June 1, 2010.
Chief Judge Evans noted that recent reports also focused on an unpublished study prepared by Loyola University Chicago in 2008 at the request of the Office of the Cook County Sheriff. The study was based on data collected by sheriff’s deputies from January 1, 2007, through August 28, 2008. The report was designed to demonstrate the number of hours sheriff’s deputies worked staffing sessions of court. Instead, the results of the report have been used to unfairly imply that the number of hours that sheriff’s deputies staff courtrooms is directly proportional to the number of hours that judges work each day.
Chief Judge Evans said, “It is important to note that the Loyola report states that more than half of the courtrooms in Cook County were in use for more than five and a half hours each day in that time period. On average, all courtrooms were in use for five hours each day.”
He continued, “It is equally important for the public to understand that, in addition to presiding in court, judges perform a substantial amount of their judicial duties in their offices, and not in their courtrooms. A sheriff’s deputy is not necessarily present at those times. Such work includes writing decisions, preparing for hearings, performing legal research, reviewing court documents and holding pre-trial and settlement conferences. To conclude that a judge is not working because he or she is not sitting in a courtroom is egregiously unfair and inaccurate.”