Circuit Judges elect Chief Judge Evans to lead court for an eighth term

Released On 09/13/2022

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans was elected today to an eighth term as chief judge by an overwhelming majority of circuit judges voting. His new three-year term will begin December 5, 2022.

The results were announced by the Hon. Shelley Sutker-Dermer, chair of the Judicial Election Committee and presiding judge of the Second Municipal District, who said Chief Judge Evans ran for re-election unopposed. Other committee members included: the Hon. Alison C. Conlon, the Hon. Peter A. Felice, the Hon. Maritza Martinez, the Hon. David R. Navarro, the Hon. Rena Marie Van Tine, the Hon. Thaddeus L. Wilson, and the Hon. E. Kenneth Wright, Jr.

The election was held today, September 13, 2022, in the Richard J. Daley Center’s Jury Assembly Room. Judge Sutker-Dermer said 219 votes were cast; of those, 184 were cast for Chief Judge Evans.

See below for Chief Judge Evans’s biography.

Honorable Timothy C. Evans

Timothy C. Evans serves as the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the largest of the 24 judicial circuits in Illinois and also one of the largest unified court systems in the world. More than 1 million cases are annually filed in the court, which serves Cook County’s nearly 5.2 million residents.

Chief Judge Evans oversees over 400 judges whom he assigns throughout the court’s 10 divisions and six geographic districts. He also oversees an annual budget of $286.5 million plus $10 million in grants and about 2,600 employees who work in 15 non-judicial offices providing court-related services such as pretrial services, probation supervision, court reporters, and courtroom interpreters.

Chief Judge Evans was first elected Chief Judge in September 2001 by unanimous vote of the circuit judges. He was subsequently re-elected in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 and again this year. In recent years, Chief Judge Evans has implemented a series of groundbreaking initiatives, including enabling victims to secure emergency orders of protection after hours in the Domestic Violence Division and signing an order to assign public and private defense attorneys to represent arrestees while they are still in custody at the police station. He also changed the cash-bail process to provide that monetary bail should be set in an amount that a defendant can afford.

As Chief Judge, Evans has brought sweeping reforms to the court that are both innovative and compassionate. His efforts include improving pretrial services operations, opening a courthouse solely dedicated to domestic violence matters and expanding the use of courts that address mental health treatment, veterans support, drug rehabilitation and support to defendants charged with prostitution. He also opened the state’s first Restorative Justice Community Court in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, and has since opened such courts in other Chicago neighborhoods. In 2020, with the advent of the global coronavirus pandemic, Judge Evans worked with judges, court staff, and local and state officials to move many court proceedings to teleconference and videoconference to keep litigants and court personnel safe. In 2021, working with guidance from public health officials, he oversaw the restart of jury trials with public health precautions.

Various organizations have honored Chief Judge Evans with dozens of awards for judicial excellence, distinguished service and humanitarian causes. Academic scholarships have been established in his name. In 2009, he became the first judge from Illinois to receive the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts. The award is one of the most prestigious judicial honors in the country and has been presented annually since 1996 by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 2017, Chicago Lawyer magazine named Chief Judge Evans the Person of the Year. In 2022, Judge Evans was honored with the Howard T. Markey Award by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and inducted into the National Civil Rights Hall of Fame by the National Civil Rights Library.

Chief Judge Evans is a 1965 graduate of the University of Illinois. He received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1969.

Upon graduation from John Marshall, Chief Judge Evans embarked on a lifelong pursuit of public service. He entered city government in 1969 when he joined the City of Chicago’s Law Department as an assistant corporation counsel. He later joined the City of Chicago’s Department of Investigations, rising to deputy commissioner. In 1973, voters elected him to represent the 4th Ward in the City Council, a position he held for 18 years while maintaining a private law practice.

With the election of Harold Washington as mayor in 1983, Chief Judge Evans assumed the post of floor leader of the City Council. He also chaired several committees, such as the Finance, Budget, and Health committees.

In 1992, he was elected to the Cook County judiciary as a circuit judge. Three years later, he was appointed the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division. In 2000, he was appointed presiding judge of the Law Division, where he served until his election as Chief Judge.


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