Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he's worked out his differences with the county's public defender. Stroger had tried to fire Ed Burnette from his post.
Cook County commissioners were scheduled to hold a hearing yesterday to decide if Burnette was fit to keep his job. But Stroger says the two met on Monday morning...
STROGER: And what do you know, we agree on a lot of things.
Neither Burnette nor Stroger would give details about that meeting. Some county commissioners have said Stroger wanted to fire Burnette because Burnette filed a lawsuit after his budget was cut. Stroger says retaliation wasn't the issue.
STROGER: I've never tried to run his office and don't plan to. I just abide by the law and as the law states, to hire certain people, he has to talk to me. And what has happened is he hadn't talked to me. So I didn't know who he wanted to hire.
Burnette says even though he and Stroger are on better terms, he hasn't withdrawn his lawsuit. The public defender's office provides legal services to those who can't afford representation.
Cook County judge accused of Tinley DUI loses bench seat, for now"
A Cook County judge accused of driving drunk in Tinley Park almost two weeks ago has been stripped of her duties on the bench.
Sheila McGinnis, arrested after she slammed into a minivan carrying two young children on May 9, has been assigned to restricted duties in the office of First Municipal District Presiding Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr.
McGinnis, 47, of Chicago's Beverly community, only will perform administrative duties at Wright's office in the Richard J. Daley Center, Chief Circuit Judge Tim Evans said. Her new assignment began Tuesday. She previously oversaw criminal cases, including some involving drunken driving, at the Bridgeview courthouse.
"In order to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary while taking into consideration the nature and severity of any charges against or implications of improper conduct by a judge, Supreme Court Rule 56 provides that a chief judge may temporarily assign a judge to restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties," Evans said in a statement released Tuesday.
McGinnis, a former Cook County prosecutor who is related to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, is accused of driving drunk about 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the southbound lanes of Harlem Avenue at 182nd Street in Tinley Park. McGinnis was weaving from lane to lane, flashing her brights, sounding the horn of her 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer and striking the curb south of 171st Street before she rear-ended a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander waiting at a red light, according to a Tinley Park police report.
A Joliet woman who was driving the Uplander, which also was carrying another adult, a teenager and two young children, got out of her vehicle to tell McGinnis to stop because the judge was still trying to drive forward with her head on the steering wheel, police said. When police arrived, McGinnis told an officer she was driving home from work at the Bridgeview courthouse, police said. She refused sobriety tests and would not answer any questions, police said.
Drivers arrested for drunken driving who refuse to submit to chemical tests lose their driver's licenses for six months.
McGinnis was charged with drunken driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and no proof of valid insurance. No one was injured in the crash.
McGinnis was elected in 2002. A woman in her Bridgeview courthouse office referred calls to Evans' office. Last week, McGinnis said her attorney told her not to comment, though she has yet to identify her attorney.
To avoid a conflict of interest, a judge from outside of Cook County will preside over McGinnis' case, Evans said. McGinnis is due in court June 6.
Last week, Evans reassigned McGinnis to civil cases. The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates allegations of misconduct by judges, also can file charges against McGinnis, Evans said. A judicial commission would then decide what, if any, disciplinary action would be imposed, such as removing McGinnis from the bench.
The Tinley Park police report detailing McGinnis' crash and charges was not part of a batch usually available to the public. Tinley Park police provided the report after a SouthtownStar Freedom of Information Act request, but several personal items normally part of police reports, such as her driver's license number and home address, were blacked out. Police also issued a press release about the accident, though Cmdr. Rick Bruno said they weren't treating McGinnis any differently than another person accused of a crime.