NBC 5 Chicago
Cook County’s circuit judges on Thursday re-elected Chief Judge Timothy Evans to oversee one of the largest unified court systems in the world. The vote was 143-102.
Evans, who beat out challenger Lorna Propes by 41 votes, had been seeking a seventh three-year term in office. He was previously a longtime Chicago alderman from 1973 to 1991 and is now the longest-serving chief judge ever at 18 years.
Propes was appointed to the bench in 2010, elected to a full six-year term in 2012 and retained for another term last fall, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
In his own campaign video, Evans touted “innovative and compassionate” reforms he’s brought to the court, like changing the cash-bail process to set more affordable bail amounts and opening courts focused specifically on mental health, restorative justice and more.
The election was decided by secret ballots cast during a closed-door meeting of the county’s 254 circuit judges at the Daley Center Thursday afternoon.
The chief judge oversees about 400 judges and assigns them to the court’s 10 divisions, as well as 2,400 employees in 16 non-judicial offices. The chief judge is also responsible for an annual budget of $272 million for a court system that sees more than 1 million cases filed every year, serving Cook County’s 5.2 million residents.