CHICAGO — In a rare public address and press conference, Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans defended his policies — especially the use of electronic monitoring following a violent 2021.
In the address, Evans urged Mayor Lightfoot, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Supt. David Brown to worker together.
“We have not found it necessary to scapegoat any of our fellow stakeholders in the criminal justice process,” Evans said. “Pointing fingers at each other is not going to solve the problem.”
Amidst the highest crime rates in years, Mayor Lightfoot has publicly called for a moratorium on electronic monitoring for those charged or weapons violations or violent crime.
The request was rejected by Evans on constitutional grounds.
“If that judge doesn’t see the evidence there, no matter what the charges, here she might decide to release the person pre-trial,” Evans said.
Evans signaled a new approach during the press conference.
“If that judge doesn’t see the evidence there, no matter what the charges, here she might decide to release the person pre-trial,” Evans said. “The number of electronic monitoring cases under the sheriff has gone down steadily.”
Evans went on to discuss a variety of options to potentially address the underlying reasons for crime.
“One of the long-term solutions that I see is to adequately fund witness protection programs to protect witnesses and their families so witnesses can come forward and testify against some of these people who are wreaking havoc,” Evans said.
At another event Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot weighed in.
“We have been in conversation collectively with the chief judge and folks at the county about the need to not just dump people back on the street,” Evans said. “But that they are provided with services that are available.”
Judge Evans said his team is working to “make things better.” They are currently taking a closer look at public safety assessments — which are used by judges to determine if a defendant is eligible for electronic monitoring.