Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says there are serious flaws in the system where murder suspects are electronically monitored – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – There are currently around 100 murder accused in Cook County, not behind bars, but electronically monitored at home.
According to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, they are only handcuffed around their ankles by a GPS armband.
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As reported by CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar, Dart spoke openly on Monday about some shortcomings in the electronic surveillance system – as concerns grew over an increase in violent crime in the city.
Chicago police shot and killed Klevontaye White in July following an armed street stalemate. White was wanted after escaping home electronic surveillance.
According to police, White has faced more than a dozen cases of serious sexual assault.
At least one of the men who shot and killed 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams in a McDonald’s on the West Side in April last year was traveling electronically (EM).
“Home monitoring is not a program for people charged with violent crimes,” said Dart.
But Dart, whose division is responsible for overseeing the courts ordered for electronic surveillance, said the majority of the roughly 2,600 defendants currently assigned to him face violent crimes.
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“Seventy-five to 80 percent of my home surveillance people are charged with a violent crime,” Dart said. “I have about 100 people charged with murder who are being watched at home.”
In an online discussion, Dart said that most would not offend again if they were in the European Championship. But in 2017 reforms restricted the use of cash bonds – which increased the number of violent criminals in home surveillance.
The sheriff said the chief judge’s office is also running a surveillance program, but the number of defendants participating in that program is a mystery to Darts.
“The idea of having two systems is illogical to me,” said Dart. “I literally have no idea how many people are on this program.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has officially asked chief judge Tim Evans to arrest the most violent perpetrators while they await trial and are not allowed to come out with a bracelet.
“Cook County’s EM system is fundamentally broken, making our city unsafe,” said Lightfoot.
The presiding judge rejected this idea, saying in part: “The mayor’s proposal appears to require that defendants facing certain allegations be held guilty until proven innocence.”
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Sheriff Dart said Cook County’s electronic surveillance program is the largest in the country. Again, the presiding judge and sheriff pointed out that the majority of those under house arrest do not commit further crimes while awaiting trial.