It sounds like Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is feeling a little heat over his support for low bonds and his push to do away with cash bonds entirely. Dart today complained that too many gun offenders are being released on electronic monitoring as a result of the county’s new campaign to offer “affordable bonds” to virtually all accused criminals.
CWBChicago has been updating you with weekly reports about the incredibly low (often non-existent) bails being handed to accused gun offenders by Cook County Judges. We’ll get back to Dart’s new attitude in a second. But first, another example of how friendly Cook County has become with accused gun violators.
|Cruz (inset) is accused of putting a gun to a woman’s head at the Summit Motel.|
Police say 21-year-old felon Carlos “Lil Tank” Cruz was partying with a few people in a room at the Summit Motel, 5308 North Lincoln, on Saturday evening. Around 8 p.m., a 19-year-old woman at the party drank some cranberry juice when the supply was running low. That’s when Cruz pulled out a .357 Magnum revolver, placed it to the woman’s head, and said, “Bitch, I’ll f*cking kill you. I don’t give a f*ck. Don’t f*ck with me,” according to prosecutors.
The woman called the police who arrested Cruz and recovered the firearm.
He’s charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, possessing a firearm without a valid Firearm Owner’s ID card, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Bail for Cruz, who is on supervised release for his second DUI, was set at $7,500 by Judge Sophia Atcherson. That means he would be released on the charge by posting a $750 deposit.
|Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart | DNAInfo|
After years of championing bail reform and even calling for the outright ban of the cash bail system in Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart today was singing a different tune.
It seems that Dart just learned something that the rest of us have been talking about for months: Accused violent offenders, including those facing gun charges, are being released from jail on electronic monitoring [EM].
Now, Dart says, his office is swamped offenders who need to be hooked up on EM.
“I have determined that I am neither satisfied nor convinced that the EM program, in its current form, offers adequate protections given this recent dramatic increase in violent offenders,” Dart wrote in a letter to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Dart’s change of heart comes 13 days after CWBChicago requested records from his office about the number of people who are on EM, how many have gone missing, and related documentation. On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office requested a five-day extension of the usual week-long response time to our request saying “documents responsive to your request are still being generated.”
In his letter to Preckwinkle, Dart said his staff will “closely scrutinize all individuals who are assigned to EM” and will refer “those who are deemed to be too high a security risk” back to the court.
According to Dart, 22% of gun offenders now go free on EM. That’s up from 2% before the Cook County Courts introduced its “affordable bail” program last autumn.
Since bail reform kicked in, CWBChicago has repeatedly reported about violent offenders who have gone free on recognizance bonds and low bonds. Sometimes with and sometimes without electronic monitoring.
Accused Class X robbery offender T’Keyah Herbert allegedly held-up three stores in December and January. Judge Stephanie Miller released her on a recognizance bond and EM.
Even crazier: Derrick Robie is accused of displaying a handgun to rob a man on the Morse Red Line station platform in January. Despite the fact that he is charged with Class X armed robbery and has a history of skipping bond, Judge Miller ordered him released on a recognizance bond and EM, too.