A Town Hall: Richard Boykin Makes His Pitch for Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The position of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County is open. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is the front door to our justice system, says former Cook County Commissioner of the 1st District and now candidate Richard Boykin. Richard Boykin held a town hall on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, at the first and oldest African American Church & African American congregation in Chicago, Quinn Chapel AME Church. Quinn Chapel AME, which is on the National Register of Historic places and under the leadership of Rev. James Moody SR., welcomed the former commissioner Boykin to the Southside church to express his views and plans as he runs for the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

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When the news broke that the soon to be former Circuit Court Clerk, Dorothy Brown would not be seeking re-election, four Democrats vying to replace her are defining their plans for the future of the office. The office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and its 124 million budget currently has over 1400 employees, oversees courtroom process records, processes child support, traffic tickets, and protection orders. The Clerk office manages the electronic filing system for civil cases that come in daily and is known for its collection of fees.

The Independent Democrat Richard Boykin says, “When it comes to ensuring equal access to justice, there are few offices with more of a direct impact than the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.” In the town hall, Boykin spoke on a few topics. Still, he is mostly known for his plan for Automatic Expungement. He spoke in-depth about how his Automatic Expungement plan will help many get back into the workforce and back into society without any penalties. The plan automatically expunges criminal records for those who have had minor criminal charges dropped or dismissed within 120 days, and at no cost. In reference to fees and fines, Richard Boykin feels that the court system has become a moneymaking machine off the backs of people who cannot afford to pay. Many of whom are black and brown people. Richard Boykin feels that fees and fines should be on a sliding scale based on one’s ability to pay. On the first day in office, Boykin says that he will forgive fees because fees are in the hands of the Clerk office. Boykin also discussed his plan of speeding up the process of the office and being able to access Circuit Court records through smartphones with the goal of having a completely paperless system by 2030. His plan would like to see the Clerk’s website with a more user-friendly interface to make electronic searches more accessible and more intuitive.

Richard Boykin is one of four contenders for the race of Clerk of the Circuit Court. He wants everyone to know that he wants to see the end machine politics of “pay to play” cronyism and says it will have no place in the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk of Cook County.

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