Board President Toni Preckwinkle asks for court help
BY ART GOLAB Staff Reporter September 14, 2013 1:42AM
Toni Preckwinkle's budget passed 16-1 on Friday.
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:52AM
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle escalated her battle with Chief Judge Timothy Evans and is now calling on the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint an outside judge to clear the backlog of criminal cases in Cook County.
In a guest column in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times, Preckwinkle also said she asked the state’s top court to establish a commission to conduct an audit of Cook County courts. The commission would be headed by a member of the Supreme Court.
Preckwinkle said the backlog in the courts has swollen the county jails’ population and is costing taxpayers millions. She has long been critical of Judge Evans’ management, saying that often judges impose higher than necessary bonds and are not held accountable for their productivity.
Evans could not be reached for comment late Friday, but last month told Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg that he doesn’t get enough money to do his job.
“The system is not adequately funded in order for justice to prevail,” Evans said.
Sheriff Tom Dart, who runs the overcrowded jail, agrees that something must be done, said his spokesman Ben Breit.
“We applaud her efforts on this, we’ve been calling for initiatives like this for years,” Breit said.
Evans, however, told Steinberg that Preckwinkle and Dart are trying to “divert one’s attention” from their own failings, such as the sheriff not having enough deputies on hand to open courtrooms. “They’re trying to save money at the expense of justice,” Evans said.