Responding to lawsuit, chief judge says he’s not responsible for people who kill others while on court’s electronic monitoring

Attorneys for Cook County’s chief judge are asking a county judge to toss a lawsuit that seeks to hold him responsible for the murder of 73-year-old Keith Cooper, whom prosecutors say was killed by two men who were on electronic monitoring in Chicago.

Attorneys for Cooper’s estate based the claim on the same general grounds as a similar suit filed weeks earlier on behalf of another murder victim’s estate: Cook County is putting potentially violent people on home confinement without adequately monitoring them.

Lawyers representing Chief Judge Timothy Evans argued that the officials don’t have a duty to prevent people from committing crimes while on electronic monitoring, the Cook County Record reported.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, also named in the lawsuit, argued in a separate filing that the two accused men weren’t even on his office’s “EM” program, so he shouldn’t be involved.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans (L) and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart

Because the men were on a program operated by Evans’ office, Dart’s attorneys said, he “could not have owed any duty with respect to monitoring their home confinement and preventing their escape.”

Evans’ attorney argued that “he is absolutely immune from any lawsuits for any actions he takes as judge, including administering an electronic home monitoring system that allegedly allowed people in the program to venture out into the community and commit violent crimes,” the Record reported.

Lawyers for the estates of Cooper and Shanate Guy, the victim in the first lawsuit, claim Cook County, Dart, and Evans put over 3,500 people onto EM programs but only staffed 110 people to monitor an average of 850 violations per day.

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