Natalie L. Howse, President of the Cook County Bar Association

Natalie L. Howse, President of the Cook County Bar Association

To the Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County:

I am writing to you on behalf of the officers, directors, members, and friends of the Cook County Bar Association in support of Judge Timothy Evans as Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Chief Judge Evans has been a supporter of the Cook County Bar Association for his entire tenure, and we have been honored to have him swear in our officers and board of directors at the beginning of each bar year—a task he has always graciously accepted. The Chief Judge has also been a staunch supporter of our Law Day activities, in which we invite Cook County students to spend a day with lawyers and in the circuit court so that they can learn more about and better appreciate our justice system. Chief Judge Evans has been extremely supportive in providing resources and access that have made this annual event an enormous success. He was also instrumental in creating the Cook County Bar Association In-Court Bar Program, This program has given thousands of defendants access to a diverse array of attorneys and has helped to improve both the image and fairness of judicial proceedings.

I note those accomplishments and our affection for Chief Judge Evans briefly at the outset only so that I may stress to you that is not the reason I am writing in support of his election as Chief Judge. Instead, it is Chief Judge Evans’ numerous accomplishments while Chief Judge, which we feel have improved the administration of justice in Cook County, that have inspired the Cook County Bar Association to encourage Judge Evans’ re-election as Chief Judge.

Chief Judge Evans has shown outstanding leadership of the Circuit Court of Cook County by his placement of judges in positions as Presiding Judge We believe Chief Judge Evans has named his Presiding Judges not on the basis of favoritism, but based on the need for changes in leadership and their ability to bring about necessary reforms. Chief Judge Evans has also led the court in new directions that provide better access to justice and better results with the creation of specialty courts. Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, and Veterans’ Court have been successful in helping to rehabilitate and restore offenders while reducing costs for the public without sacrificing safety. Additionally, Elder Court has improved access to justice for senior citizens and given special recognition to their unique concerns, And now; Chief Judge Evans is set to open a first-of-its-kind Community Court for Restorative Justice in the North Lawndale neighborhood—a community in desperate need of new approaches to reverse the swell of crime and violence.

In addition to his guidance of the operations of the court itself, Chief Judge Evans has implemented important reforms to address the serious issue of overcrowding in the Cook County jail and the length of pre-trial detention. ChiefJudge Evans expanded pretrial services to reducing the number of people held in pretrial custody. He has embraced the Illinois Supreme Court’s report on pretrial services in Cook County and has begun to implement its recommendations. He named new leadership to the Adult Probation and Social Service Departments and Chief Judge Evans has secured a grant to reduce the number of low level non-violent offenders incarcerated in the Cook County jail.

Chief Judge Evans has shown adaptability and forward thinking in his leadership as Chief Judge, and we strongly believe he should continue in this role to see the reforms he implemented take root and to continue to lead the Circuit Court of Cook County in positive new directions.

Natalie L. Howse

President, Cook County Bar Association

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