PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans forms committee to review practices and procedures governing the hearing of domestic violence matters; plans 24/7 service for domestic violence victims

Released On 10/06/2021

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced he has entered an order reestablishing the Circuit Court of Cook County Committee on Domestic Violence Court and that he has appointed a veteran Domestic Relations Division judge, Honorable Grace G. Dickler, to serve as the Committee’s Chair.

The Committee, which is in formation, will review practices and procedures governing the hearing of domestic violence matters throughout the court, and review the organization and efficiency of Domestic Violence Division operations at all courthouses where domestic violence matters are heard.

“The first charge I have set for the Committee and its Chair, Judge Dickler, is to re-examine Domestic Violence Division operations to ensure that the Circuit Court of Cook County is providing a safe and secure environment for the hearing of domestic violence matters,” Evans said. “The Committee will then make recommendations to me on whether additional improvements are needed to help protect the safety of victims and the rights of the accused.”

Also, in order to better serve victims of domestic violence, Judge Evans said that, beginning Monday, November 8, petitions for emergency protective orders will be heard by on-call judges outside of the court’s regular business hours on weekdays, weekends and holidays. Members of the Committee on Domestic Violence Court and other stakeholders are working with the Office of the Chief Judge to establish this 24/7 service. The on-call judges will include experienced Domestic Violence Division judges, and all on-call judges will receive special training to hear these matters.

“This court recognizes that petitioners in Domestic Violence cases are often undergoing tremendous stress and may face physical danger, and that they cannot wait for regular business hours to obtain emergency protective orders,” Judge Evans said. “The establishment of these new procedures is intended to make judges available 24/7 to rule on these critical matters.”

Committee members include judges in the Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence and Child Protection Divisions, advocates for domestic violence victims, and representatives of the private bar, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the Cook County Board.

Members of the Circuit Court of Cook County Committee on Domestic Violence Court are as follows:

- Hon. Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division, Chairperson

- Hon. Raúl Vega, Presiding Judge, Domestic Violence Division

- Hon. Marina E. Ammendola, Judge, Domestic Violence Division

- Hon. Jennifer J. Payne, Judge, Child Protection Division

- Hon. Judith C. Rice, Judge, Domestic Relations Division

- Benna Crawford, JD, Director, Children and Families Practice Group, Legal Aid Chicago

- Margaret Duval, JD, Executive Director, Ascend Justice

- Lanetta Haynes Turner, JD, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Cook County Board of Commissioners

- Debora Sims, Commissioner, Cook County Board

- Rebecca Levin, MPH, Executive Director, Public Policy, Cook County Sheriff’s Office

- Carmen Navarro-Gercone, Executive Clerk of Court Operations & Administration, Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County

- Katherine S. Nolan, JD, Staff Attorney, Office of the Chief Judge

- Amanda Pyron, MSW, Executive Director, The Network

- Donald C. Schiller, JD, Senior Partner, Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck, LLP

- Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, ex officio member

Judge Evans signed the order on Wednesday, October 6. More committee members may be added.


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