With cash bail ending in Cook County, more judges are added to pretrial hearing division

Chicago — In preparation for the elimination of cash bail on January 1, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans is expanding the roster of judges who determine initial pretrial release conditions for people charged with crimes in Chicago, according to a source.

The source said that the current complement of six bond court judges plus a supervising judge at the 26th and California courthouse is being beefed up with the addition of three more judges. Evans is also expected to add two more courtrooms to hear pretrial detention matters on weekends when the Chicago-based judges also handle suburban cases.

More than 60 Illinois counties are expected to hold off on eliminating cash bail as set forth in the state’s massive SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform bill after winning a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bail provision in Kankakee County yesterday.

But Cook County is not affected by the judge’s ruling because it is not a party to the lawsuit, so cash bail is expected to end here on January 1.

The judges expected to join the court’s Pretrial Division are William Fahy, David Kelly, and Ankur Srivastava, a source said.

Left to right: William Fahy, David Kelly, and Ankur Srivastava | For What It’s Worth; David Kelly

Fahy, appointed to an associate judge slot in 2021, started his career as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney. There, he ascended to prosecuting the office’s most serious felony matters, including death penalty cases. He then turned to private defense work. In that role, he frequently represented Chicago police officers who faced misconduct allegations, including Officer Thomas Gaffney, who was acquitted of conspiring to cover up the Laquan McDonald shooting.

Kelly was also appointed to an associate judgeship in 2021. He won election to become a Circuit Court judge in November. He ran a private practice that included criminal defense, and civil law, according to his campaign website. Kelly started his career as a prosecutor in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. 

Srivastava, appointed to an associate judgeship in 2021, specialized in public corruption cases as a prosecutor in the US Attorney’s office in Chicago from 2014 to 2021, according to his LinkedIn bio. Before that, he worked in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, where he was assigned to the Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Evans’ spokesperson is on vacation until next week, according to an email reply CWBChicago received earlier this week, so we could not officially confirm the assignments.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com