Evans names judges to serve in Pretrial Division

Released On 09/15/2017

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced today the judges who he has assigned to the new Pretrial Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The appointments are effective Monday, and the new division accompanies an order Chief Judge Evans signed in July to change the cash-bail process in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The order states that if a bond court judge determines a defendant qualifies for release from jail before trial upon posting cash bail, the bail must be set in an amount that the defendant can afford.

Chief Judge Evans’ order takes effect for felonies on Monday and misdemeanors on January 1, 2018.

“As we continue our efforts to enhance the pretrial process in Cook County, this new division will play an important role in upholding the court’s focus on justice and fairness,” Chief Judge Evans said. “All defendants are assumed innocent until proven guilty, and nobody should be held in jail simply because they cannot afford bail.”

Chief Judge Evans has appointed Circuit Judge John P. Kirby to serve as the Pretrial Division’s presiding judge for what was formerly referred to as Central Bond Court in the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Judge Kirby became a judge in 1998 and has served in the First Municipal District, the Criminal Division and the Law Division.

Judge Kirby previously served in bond court in the First Municipal District in the early 2000s. During his time in the Criminal Division, Judge Kirby started a treatment diversion program for nonviolent drug offenders and began a program for young adult offenders to earn a high school diploma. In 2009, he created the first Veterans Treatment Court in Illinois, in which nonviolent defendants who served in the U.S. military receive help to treat issues – such as substance abuse and mental illness – to address the underlying cause of crime.

In 2010, the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice and the Chicago Council of Lawyers honored Judge Kirby with the “Commitment to Justice” award. He was also honored by the Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates as the “Judge of the Year” in 2016.

“I look forward to overseeing a bond system that continues to be fair and equitable for the people of Cook County,” Judge Kirby said. “One of my goals is to help the public better understand the bond system and how judges must balance the desire for one’s freedom before trial and the need to protect the public.”

Judge Kirby will supervise the judges who will serve in the Pretrial Division. They are: Associate Judge Sophia Atcherson, Circuit Judge Michael R. Clancy, Circuit Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Associate Judge Mary C. Marubio, Circuit Judge Stephanie K. Miller and Circuit Judge David R. Navarro.

These judges succeed the previously assigned Central Bond Court judges who will transition to other judicial assignments. Associate Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr., Circuit Judge James R. Brown, Associate Judge Donald Panarese Jr. and Circuit Judge Laura M. Sullivan have chosen to continue to serve in the First Municipal District. Associate Judge Peggy Chiampas and Associate Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesel will serve in the Criminal Division.

Over the course of the next year, Chief Judge Evans plans to review statistics to evaluate how his order and the new division affect the size and makeup of the jail population, whether released defendants attend future court hearings and whether released defendants commit new offenses while their cases are pending.

All of the judges in the Pretrial Division have been trained to use the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) tool. The Circuit Court of Cook County was the first state court system in Illinois to implement the PSA provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation at no expense to the court.

The court currently applies the PSA to felony cases to provide more information to the judge in bond court and to provide an assessment of whether, if released from jail, a defendant is likely to commit another crime, commit a violent crime or fail to appear for future court dates. The court began using the PSA in June 2015, and full implementation in felony cases followed in March 2016. The court will begin using the PSA for misdemeanors on January 1, 2018.

As part of preparations for the arrival of the new Pretrial Division, the court held a series of four, two-hour training sessions – on August 30, September 1, September 6 and September 14 – for the staff of all justice system stakeholders on the PSA, pretrial service operations and Chief Judge Evans’ General Order 18.8A regarding bail.


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