By Chinta Strausberg
Rev. Janette Wilson, senior advisor to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Wednesday called on the Circuit Court judges to support the re-election of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans or “we will remember you in November.”
An irate Wilson said Evans has done “an outstanding job” as head of the County’s court system and should have the support of the judges. “That is why we protested against Chief Judge Harry Comerford because he did not appoint African American judges and people of color,” Wilson said.
“I take this personally because we have fought so hard to be included in the judicial system and only gained judges under Chief Judge Evans.”
But by 3 p.m., Thursday, September 15th, the iconic Cook County Chief Judge Evans, the first chief judge elected in September of 2001 by a unanimous vote and the first African American to hold that office, may be out of a job.
That is when the alleged “double cross” as Ald. Carrie Austin calls it, allegedly will take place among the 241 mostly white circuit judges are scheduled to hold a secret vote for former Ald. Tom Allen (38th), a white Circuit Court judge, who wants Evans’ job.
The scene of the showdown vote will take place on the 17th floor of the Daley Plaza. According to reliable sources who are very upset with the judges taking action against Chief Judge Evans, the sources say the judges are angry at Evans “for not giving them plum positions especially the one at 26th and California. Tim is a great person and he works so hard,” said one source, who is actively campaigning for Evans’ retention.
“This backlash began when Chief Judge Evans put Leroy Martin at 26th and California as the chief judge,” one source said referring to the son of the late Chicago Police Supt. Leroy Martin. “That triggered anger from the white judges. Martin is a capable person, but that is not what the judges want. They want an Irishman in that position.”
Since Chief Judge Evans placed Martin in that apparently coveted position, it has been an ongoing war.
“Ald. Ed Burke wants Tim Allen in the seat because he would have an open door policy, but I believe it comes down to race. Allen is Irish and that is what they want,” said the source who is very close to the court system. “It’s an Irish thing….”
While several sources asked not to be named but are working feverishly to try and stop the “double cross” of Evans, the politically powerful Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) vented her anger and frustration to the judge’s actions on her Facebook page.
“It’s a crying shame that we as Committeemen of the so-called Democratic Party would be indulging in double crossing The Chief Judge Tim Evans,” she wrote.
“We should be calling All the darn judges and telling them to support Tim Evans. It’s a shame that Black committeemen are behind Tom Allen. When they should be supporting Tim. They would rather have Tom Allen who has Not Done A Damn Thing for Blacks.
“Now some want to say neither has Tim. That almost sound like Donald Trump. Saying what democratic haven’t done for the African American People. Really !!! Those committeemen should be a “shame,” an angry Austin wrote.
Another source said, “I have a committee to help Chief Evans. We’re calling the judges. It doesn’t matter if they are blue, black or white. We’re calling them and asking them to support Chief Evans.”
Another high-level source said some Black judges are allegedly poised to defect to the Allen side and that the ward committeemen “are not stepping forth” likening their lack of support of Evans to the Cook County Democratic Party’s dumping of Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown.
In the race for that coveted office, black and white Democratic ward committeemen voted to rescind their support of Brown opting instead to endorse Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) who lost that election by huge numbers. Sources fear “there is some horse trading going on with Judge Evans as the bait.”
Sources said there would be worldwide press covering the secret vote. “Non-judges cannot go in the room where the secret vote will take place, but they will be outside waiting.
“It’s embarrassing especially so close to such a crucial presidential election where the Black vote is key to a Democratic victory,” said one very angry source.
“Chief Evans has been a pioneer of putting women in presiding judgeships, and he has practiced diversity more so than any other chief judge in the history of his seat,” a source stated.
Chief Judge Evans did issue a statement simply saying he welcomes the challenge, and Allen claims he can provide better relationships with the Cook County Board and the sheriff’s office.