Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicago Criminal Lawyer comments on sheriffs being understaffed

This Chicago criminal lawyer knows that the sheriff is responsible for the courtrooms and jails running smoothly throughout Cook County. Now comes news that because they don't have enough sheriffs courthouses throughout the county may shut down.

Weekends under a plan Sheriff Tom Dart said would free up deputies for more important assignments.

Dart's proposal would mean weekend bond hearings would be held only in the Chicago and Markham courthouses. That would allow about 50 deputies at those court calls to be moved to other assignments, including at the Daley Center court complex, where Dart says he is critically understaffed due to his inability to hire new courtroom deputies.

"There are some entire floors that have just one deputy assigned to all the courtrooms there," Steve Patterson, the sheriff's department spokesman, said of the Daley Center, which houses divorce, probate and other civil cases that sometimes get emotional.

Bond hearings for those charged with felony crimes are held every day at each of the five suburban districts in Markham, Bridgeview, Maywood,
Rolling Meadows and Skokie as well as at the Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.

Dart said that so few defendants appear for bond hearings on the weekend at the suburban courthouses -- with the exception of the busy Markham courthouse -- that it is inefficient to staff those court calls.

If Sheriff Dart is successful it could mean that some defendants will not make it to Bond Court. This is important for anyone charged with a crime because right now, Bond Court is held every day in Cook County. There are no holidays or court closures when it comes to Bond Court as I recently posted. Imagine being held on a charge without an opportunity to go before a judge and have bond set. I know that cuts have to be made to the budget but they shouldn't impact the rights of the accused.

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