Friday, April 7, 2017

Judge reassigned after accused of wrongly locking up suspects for contempt

Judge reassigned after accused of wrongly locking up suspects for contempt
Cook County judge being reassigned over contempt of court issues
A Cook County judge has been removed from her post in criminal court following allegations that she wrongly ordered litigants locked up for contempt of court.
The Cook County Circuit Court's executive committee, a panel of supervising judges, took the rare action against Judge Gloria Chevere after preliminarily concluding that her rulings may have resulted in "possible threat of injury to the public and to the orderly administration of justice," according to a news release issued Wednesday by the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans.
The news release was not specific about the rulings. However, an investigative report released about a week ago by Medill Watchdog and WGN-TV found that Chevere sent defendants to jail for contempt 30 times over the past four years.
Eight young men, according to the investigation, were sent to jail for wearing pants that sagged too low. During the same time frame, the report found, most Cook County judges hadn't sent anyone to jail for contempt.
The decision to reassign Chevere was announced after the court's 18-member executive committee met with her Monday to review allegations brought against her, according to the news release.
Chevere, who was elected in 2006, had been hearing Chicago misdemeanor and ordinance cases. She will be reassigned to hearing civil, nonjury or administrative matters, according to the release. The reassignment is pending "ultimate investigation and finding in the matter," according to the release, which also noted Chevere was assigned to the Illinois Supreme Court Peer Mentoring Program.
It was unclear when the committee would finalize its investigation into the allegations that Chevere failed to follow appropriate procedures prior to finding litigants in direct criminal contempt of court.
Chevere and Evans could not immediately be reached.
In 2012, the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County, which evaluates judges with an eye toward improving their effectiveness, reported that she had trouble with "temperament and diligence" and made erratic rulings, which some attributed to her not being prepared.
Tribune reporter Cynthia Dizikes contributed.
Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

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