Cook County Judges

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Archive for January 2012

Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown grossly negligent in maintaining docket

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Cook County Circuit Court Clerk (“CCCCC”) Dorothy Brown is required by Illinois statutes to keep accurate court records and to record court dates, filing of motions and  other pleadings and orders of the court on an electronic docket [=a brief entry of the proceedings in a legal case]. That is her job for which she was elected.

The docket is used by litigants or attorneys to keep track of when pleadings were filed, what orders have been entered and when as well as court dates.

However, the CCCCC’s docket does not have any details that allow a litigant or attorney to determine which pleading, motion, petition, or  order was entered or filed on a particular date.

These inadequacies cause the litigants and attorneys to be impeded in their case, causes them to spend extra time and money figuring out what is going on and when they have deadlines to meet, etc.  This is particularly true when a new attorney comes on the case and needs to quickly get up to speed as to what has occurred in previous proceedings.

With modern computers, it would be easy for the assistant clerks to type in the name of the pleading, motion or petition, as well as to type in specific summaries of the orders. In that way the docket would serve as it is supposed to do – as a snapshot of the case. However, CCCCC Brown has failed to enact a system where the assistant clerks properly enter the name of the pleading or details of the orders into the electronic record (docket). Instead a vague nonspecific statement is entered such as “motion filed” or “order entered”, as well as “continued for status” [without stating which motion was continued]. Statements such as “entered and  continued” fail to give sufficient detail for the reader to tell what was entered and continued.

Please write to Chief Judge Evans and Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinckle and ask them to order CCCCC Brown to remedy this serious deficiency and start a system where specific names of pleadings, motions, orders or memoranda as well as details of orders be entered onto the docket.  In addition, she should explain how she provides supervision of her assistant clerks in order to ensure that the error rate for docket entries is minimum.  Right now I have documented a 37% error rate in the docket of significant entries such as orders. See article about the error rate at this link.  Their addresses are at the end of this post.

The docket entries look like this:

Activity Date: 7/29/2009 Participant: SHELTON LINDA
CASE SET ON STATUS CALL
Date: 9/24/2009
Court Time: 1000
Judge: WARD, JOHN A.
Microfilm: LD000641353
Activity Date: 9/23/2009 Participant: SHELTON LINDA L
MOTION FILED
Attorney: PRO SE
Activity Date: 9/24/2009 Participant: SHELTON LINDA
COMPLY – CONTINUED –
Date: 10/29/2009
Court Time: 1000
Judge: WARD, JOHN A.
Microfilm: LD000772660

Chief Judge Timothy Evans
Cook County Circuit Court
50 W. Washington, Rm 2600
Chicago, IL 60602

Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle
118 N. Clark Street Room 537
Chicago IL 60602
Phone: (312) 603-6400
Fax: (312) 443-4397

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Written by Linda Shelton

January 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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