WBEZ | Judicial Advisory Council http://www.wbez.org/tags/judicial-advisory-council Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Commissioners take aim at immigration ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 264px; height: 276px;" title="Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, authored one of the proposals. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">A debate about a Cook County ordinance that frees some inmates wanted by immigration authorities could get hotter. At its meeting Wednesday, the County Board agreed to consider two proposed amendments that would scale back the ordinance. Commissioners with opposing views of the measure also vowed to press the county’s top law-enforcement officials to testify about it at an unscheduled hearing.</p><p>The ordinance effectively bars compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, which are requests that the county’s jail hold specified inmates up to two business days after they post bond or complete their criminal cases.</p><p>One of the proposed amendments, introduced Wednesday by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett), seems to require compliance with the detainers for inmates listed on the federal Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and for inmates charged with — though not necessarily convicted of — various felonies. Those felonies include certain drug offenses, crimes resulting in great bodily harm, and “forcible felonies,” which Illinois defines as involving the use or threat of physical force or violence against an individual.</p><p>“I know that my amendment will not pass,” Schneider told commissioners during their meeting. “But maybe with some input from some of the stakeholders, something will come out of this and we will pass a common-sense measure that creates greater justice for victims of crimes and also to improve public safety for the residents of Cook County.”</p><p>The other proposed amendment, filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), would give the sheriff leeway to honor the detainers.</p><p>“The sheriff should have greater discretion on holding people that pose a threat to society,” Silvestri said before the meeting. “The sheriff, as the chief law enforcement officer of the county, should develop a procedure for determining which individuals to keep and which to release.”</p><p>That idea is not going over well with the ordinance’s author, Jesús García (D-Chicago). “It would bring back a flawed program that has not succeeded in apprehending dangerous criminals, and has instead resulted in the detention and sometimes deportation of people with minor infractions, victims of crime, and even U.S. citizens,” a statement from García’s office said. “It would give the sheriff unbridled discretion to comply with ICE detainers.”</p><p>Commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to send both proposals to the board’s Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, chaired by Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who supports the ordinance.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office did not return a call about the proposals, but he has quietly urged commissioners to require compliance with ICE detainers for inmates who meet any of several criteria. Dart listed some of the criteria in a December letter to Silvestri: “[It] is my hope that you agree that those charged with a ‘forcible felony,’ those who have a history of convictions and those on a Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List should be held on an ICE detainer rather than released immediately.”</p><p>State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office did not return a call about the proposals.</p><p>The ordinance, approved in a 10-5 vote last September, has received increasing public attention in recent weeks as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who was charged and jailed in a fatal Logan Square hit-and-run incident last year and named on an ICE detainer. After the ordinance passed, officials say, the inmate posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>A letter this month from ICE Director John Morton to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cites that case. “This ordinance undermines public safety in Cook County and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws,” the letter says.</p><p>Last week Preckwinkle said the hit-and-run suspect’s release “outraged” her, but she has stuck behind the ordinance. Instead of reconsidering it, she proposed a study of the county’s bail bond system for all criminal cases — no matter whether the inmate’s name appears on an ICE detainer. On Wednesday, the board approved the proposal, under which the county’s Judicial Advisory Council will undertake the study. That five-member panel, chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, would recommend ways to improve pretrial services so judges can make better-informed decisions on bond amounts, according to the proposal.</p><p>ICE took custody of 1,665 Cook County inmates in 2010 and 721 in 2011, according to Dart’s office. Morton’s letter says ICE has lodged detainers against another 268 county inmates since the ordinance’s approval but the sheriff’s office has disregarded them.</p><p>The ordinance prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. García and others who back the ordinance say the detainers violated inmates’ due-process rights and eroded community trust in local police. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p><p>The ordinance has reverberated beyond Cook County. In October, California’s Santa Clara County adopted a similar measure.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 Preckwinkle asks for study of bail bonds http://www.wbez.org/story/preckwinkle-asks-study-bail-bonds-95519 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/By Bill Healy - July 27 2011 - 005.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Thursday defended an ordinance that frees some inmates wanted by immigration authorities. Instead of reconsidering the measure, she asked for a study to identify better ways for the county’s judges to set bail in criminal cases.</p><p>The ordinance, passed in September, bars compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that certain inmates remain in the county’s jail up to two business days after they have posted bond or completed their court cases. The requests, known as detainers, gave ICE time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>Last week a letter to Preckwinkle from ICE Director John Morton said the ordinance “undermines public safety in Cook County and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.”</p><p>Morton’s letter says ICE has lodged detainers against more than 268 Cook County inmates since the ordinance passed. It says the county has not honored any of them, “preventing ICE from considering removal proceedings against all but 15 of these individuals whom we were able to locate independently and arrest following their release into the community.”</p><p>The letter also refers to a case that local newspapers have been covering. As the story goes, a Mexican immigrant named Saúl Chávez allegedly killed a pedestrian in a Northwest Side hit-and-run incident last year. Despite a previous DUI conviction, a Cook County judge set Chávez’s bond at $250,000, Preckwinkle’s office says. When Chávez posted the required 10 percent, or $25,000, the jail released him last fall, reportedly disregarding an ICE detainer. Since then, the newspapers add, Chávez has missed his court appointments, leading to a federal arrest warrant.</p><p>Preckwinkle on Thursday afternoon said that case “outraged” her but said she was sticking by the ordinance and introducing a board resolution for the county’s Judicial Advisory Council to undertake a six-month study of the bail bond system. The five-member panel, chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, will recommend ways to improve pretrial services so judges can “make better-informed decisions on bond amounts,” a statement from Preckwinkle’s office says.</p><p>The release of county inmates should be left to the courts, not immigration officials, Preckwinkle said at a downtown news conference. “It’s the responsibility of the judicial system to determine whether or not someone is a flight risk, a danger to themselves or a danger to society,” she said. “And once the judicial system makes that decision, that should be the end of it.”</p><p>Preckwinkle’s stand is getting flak from some County Board members who voted against the ordinance. Commissioner Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) said he shared her concern about the county’s bond system. But he said the board should allow the sheriff to honor the ICE detainers. “We should return that discretion to the chief law-enforcement officer of the county,” Silvestri said.</p><p>ICE took custody of 721 Cook County inmates on detainers in 2011 and 1,665 in 2010, according to Sheriff Tom Dart’s office. The ordinance requires the jail to free such inmates unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement.</p><p>Jesús García (D-Chicago) and other commissioners who backed the measure say the detainers violated inmates’ due-process rights and eroded community trust in local police. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer said compliance with ICE detainers is voluntary.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/preckwinkle-asks-study-bail-bonds-95519