Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans is urging all to vote for 60 senior judges who are running for retention whom he says has been committed to fairness and justice down through the years.
“We have been given six-year terms,” Evans explained during last Saturday’s, October 29th, Rainbow PUSH Coalition political forum and Sunday, October 30the, on WVON’s “ON THE CASE” talk show.
“Every six years we have to be accountable to the public,” Judge Evans explained. “We don’t run against anybody, and we run on our own record.” Evans the 60 judges come from various ethnic backgrounds and gender.
“We are judges who work in the regular courts most people know about, but since I’ve been chief judge, I helped to organize problem-solving courts.
Explaining, Judge Evans said there are courts to help people addicted to drugs. “We have a drug court. We are set up to help people who are mentally ill. We have a mental health court. We have people who are returning as veterans. They’ve been in wars. They’ve been in veterans court because many of them don’t know the rights they have.
“I also established restorative justice courts. We provide a second chance for young people who are ages 18-26 and who have engaged in some sort of criminal conduct that is non-felony.” He said that crime could either be a misdemeanor or a felony as long as it is non-violence.
“We try to have them become accountable for their actions” he said. “They have to admit what they did wrong or restored what they did wrong. If they took somebody’s property, they must give it back,” Judge Evans explained. “If they took somebody’s property and damaged it, they have to replace it.”
And, if they commit a crime against the community, Evans said they must do community service. “Once they do what we ask them to do, we can then dismiss their case and restore their record. We can exonerate them in terms of a record so that their record is cleaned.”
When asked if he patterned his restorative court after retired Judge Stuart A. Nudelman, Chief Judge Evans said, “He was one of our great, presiding judge. He believed in restorative justice, but he didn’t have a restorative court. We talked about that.
“We are the first in the state of Illinois to have a restorative court,” Evans stated. “Restorative techniques are used in schools or churches.
“Many people realize that we shouldn’t be throwing our children out of school. If they make a mistake, the restorative justice way is to make them understand what they did wrong and to restore the not to leave school. Education is the key to the future,” Evans said. “Everybody deserves a second chance which is what our restorative justice courts are designed to do.”
If Evans had his way, he said he would expand his restorative justices to each of the city’s 50 wards and every township in the County. “We want to give our children a second chance. We have judges who are running for retention who specialize in the second chance court system. “
According to Chief Judge Evans, the 60 Cook County judges need to have 60 percent of the vote on November 8th. “Most people if they’re running for an elected position and they run against somebody, they have to get 50 plus 1 to be the winner, but that is not the case with judges running for retention. They are not running against someone. They are running on their record.”
Evans said because the judges are at the bottom of the ballot, many times voters don’t know who they are, don’t know their history and sometimes try to pick out those who are black, Hispanic, Asian or white. “We are in all of those groups and are not running against each other. Each candidate running for retention needs a separate yes vote.”
“I hope the voters will give us a chance to continue to serve them in the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Appellate and Supreme Court of Illinois. We’re all running for retention,” Judge Evans said.