Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans has reassigned four judges in response to a FOX Chicago News/Better Government Association investigation into courtroom work habits.
The investigation found the judges leaving their assigned courtrooms well before the 4pm out time ordered by Evans two years ago. One judge, Gloria Chevere, was found soaking up the sun in her backyard at 2pm on a day when her court call ended early.
"I do not want any unacceptable behavior of a few judges to undermine the credibility and integrity of our entire system of justice," Evans said in a statement.
Evans transferred Judges Chevere, Jim Ryan, Frank Deboni and Cynthia Brim to new courthouse assignments beginning next week. Evans also assigned veteran judges to act as mentors to each of the judges.
On Wednesday the Illinois Supreme Court ordered a review of efficiency in the Cook County courts after some justices saw our report. "Such conduct as depicted is totally unacceptable and in the court's mind cannot be tolerated," said Supreme Court spokesman Joe Tybor.
The reassignments are "a step in the right direction," said Kent College of Las Dean Harold Krent. "But it really puts the full brunt on these four judges when the problem is probably far more systemic."
A secret Cook County Sheriffs report obtained by Fox Chicago and the BGA showed between April, 2007 and May, 2008 the average closing time for a Cook County courtroom was 2:25 pm. One quarter of all courtrooms operated just three and a half hours a day or less.