Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday rejected Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans’ call to work together in a concerted effort to reduce violent crime in Chicago, saying the justice system makes “neighborhoods of less safe Chicago”.
In a rare speech to the Union League Club of Chicago, Evans said Thursday that Chicago and Cook County would be better served if the finger pointing that marked the debate over how to stop the spike in crime that has started almost two years ago was replaced by a collaborative push.
In a statement released by his office to WTTW News on Friday, Lightfoot said that wouldn’t be possible until Evans recognized that the courts are “making Chicago neighborhoods less safe.”
“The Mayor believes that the current practices of the Cook County Criminal Courts regarding electronic surveillance and violent and dangerous offenders make our residents less safe and totally erode confidence in the criminal justice system,” the statement said. “It is undeniable that those accused of murder and other violent crimes are in communities without any supervision, whether adults or minors.”
Evans’ speech on Thursday marked his first public appearance since rejecting Lightfoot’s appeal to stop judges from releasing defendants charged with murder or attempted murder to await trial outside jail. while being monitored with an electronic bracelet.
“We have not found it necessary to scapegoat any of our fellow criminal justice process intervenors,” Evans said Thursday. “Oh, we may differ from time to time, but I think you can easily tell that we share the same goal of having a safe and peaceful community.”
An analysis by the Chicago Grandstand found that Lightfoot’s letter demanded the change – which Evans said would violate the constitution – based on misleading, misleading and, in some cases, false data.
Evans said on Thursday he was “unfortunate” that Lightfoot shared “false” information about the actions taken by the Cook County courts.
No one charged with murder or attempted murder has been released on electronic monitoring since October 2021, Evans said.
Even before the spike in violent crime began — and before the justice system shut down amid the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic — Lightfoot repeatedly blamed the justice system for fueling the rise in crime. releasing violent criminals onto the streets of Chicago.
However, there is no evidence that defendants on bail are responsible for the high rates of violence. People charged with a crime do not present a clear and present threat, they have the right to be released pending trial, Evans said.
Despite Evans’ pushback, Lightfoot has repeatedly said she won’t stop calling for changes to how the courts work.
“The mayor will work with anyone who uses real data and does not shirk their responsibilities,” according to the statement from the mayor’s office. “She believes there is a middle ground that can and must be achieved, which balances the importance of constitutional rights and fair law enforcement with community safety and true accountability for violent criminals. .”
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]