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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
Date: 9/24/2009
Court Time: 1000
Judge: WARD, JOHN A.
Microfilm: LD000641353
Activity Date: 9/23/2009 Participant: SHELTON LINDA L
Attorney: PRO SE
Activity Date: 9/24/2009 Participant: SHELTON LINDA
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

Written by Linda Shelton

January 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Ms. Shelton,

    Among the many technical advancements Clerk Dorothy Brown has brought to the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office, including the scanning of court documents, is one that will revolutionize they way business is done in at the Criminal Court located at 26th and California, which I know you are familiar with.

    The current electronic docket captures all the data required to be recorded for the court, per the direction of the Adminstrative Office of the Illinois Courts. We are currently worling to expand on the current docketing system with revolutionary changes using state of the art technology.

    Clerk Brown along with Chief Judge Timothy Evans, launched a joint effort to bring electronic court orders to the Criminal Court. Our technology staff have been working very closely with Criminal Division judges to allow for court orders to be filled in via touch screen, ability to transmit court documents electronically and a print on demand system, eliminating the need for paper if not necessary. Quite frankly, we are very excited as this can serve as a model for the rest of the court system!

    If you have any other questions Ms. Shelton, feel free to contact me at 312-603-5690.
    Enza Raineri
    Chief Public Information Officer
    Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County


    enza raineri

    January 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm

  2. Unfortunately, the Clerk is doing too little too late. She has been clerk for many years ad has accomplished very little. I met with her in December 2009 and presented to Clerk Brown the facts that she is violating many statutes and not doing her job in:
    (1) failing to transfer notices of appeal to the appellate court within five days and instead giving them to Judge Biebel who has lost jurisdiction over cases the minute a person files a notice of appeal – IL Supreme Court rules MANDATE that the N of Appeal be transmitted within five days and case law mandates that the court loses jurisdiction so Clerk Brown should inform Judge Biebel that she refuses to forward notices of appeal to him anymore – judges must be told that they must make an immediate decision to grant free transcripts to indigent defendents in the courtroom – there is no reason for Judge Biebel to duplicate their work and try to control such things by transferring everything to himself – he should be removed as presiding judge;
    (2) failing to inform the State Police that bail forfeitures have been quashed thus making rap sheets inaccurate and causing judges to set excessively high bails because they are falsely told defendants have bail forfeitures on their records;
    (3) failing to give litigants a copy of orders from Judge Maddux regarding requests to waive fees and instead taking the orders down to the clerk’s office – they should not be removed from the courtroom until the litigant is given a copy – Judge Maddux is violating the rules and only instructing clerks to go “file” the litigants complaint with the order granting in forma pauperis or giving them the order denying in forma pauperis in the clerk’s office thus denying the litigant the right to ask the judge to that day recall the case and recosider – this is a scheme by Judge Maddux to deny the litigant due process (treat them different than attorneys) and Clerk Brown is therefore aiding and abetting Judge Maddux’s misconduct;
    (4) failing to update the computers in a more timely fashion – the very old outdated computer system is not a modern relational database and instead is a tree like database – therfore it is impossibole to query it. In order to query it one has to ask permission from Judge Evans and then pay hundreds of dollars for your IT person to write a query program. This computer system should have been replced years ago. The only reason to prevent queries is to hide the corruption going on in the courts.
    (5) numerous other statutory procedures that Clerk Brown is violating as well as her total negligence in failing to supervise assistant clerks to prevent the 37% error rate in recording orders that I have found in review of about 50 different cases.


    Linda Shelton

    January 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm

  3. Right now your “state of the art technology” is a dream. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Oh, I forgot to tell the public how I am facing a misdemeanor charge for trespass when your clerk at the criminal court building refused to let me speak to a supervisor then their assistants were not doing their job. So instead they made false statements that I was disorderly and had me arrested. So Clerk Brownn is now using her assistant clerks to make false charges against me to cover up her negligence and inability to supervise her staff and failure to follow law as well as failure to update the computers in a timely fashion.

    I believe this could be claime to be retaliation against a federal witness which is a federal felony crime.


    Linda Shelton

    January 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm

  4. Ms Raineri – Clerk Brown’s Public Relation’s Officer

    Thank you for inviting me to talk with you. However as I said, I talked with Clerk Brown in 2009 and she failed to follow up on our conversation and failed to correct the problems that I pointed out to her then as stated in my other comments.

    In addition, as I am under fraudulent criminal charges due to a fraudulent complaint by one of your clerk’s if I contact you, then States Attorney Anita Alvarez may bring felony charges against me for harassing a criminal complainant as Clerk Brown is the boss of the complainant. It appears that your request to talk to you is a set up to bring further fraudulent charges against me.

    If you convinced SA Alvarez to drop the charges and arranged a meeting between me, Clerk Brown, SA Alvarez, and the press, along with a number of other members of our group of whistle blowers who have complaints about illegal acts by judges and inadequacies in the Clerk’s office, then maybe we can all work together to achieve the advancements and changes that will bring professionalism and justice back into the courts and into Clerk Brown’s office.

    My impression is that Clerk Brown is just a figure head, a pretty face, that was put in office to look good, but that actually deligates authority to corrupt persons just under her that have been in their position for decades such as Assistant Clerk McNamara who is director of all the clerks.

    Remember Clerk Brown during our meeting in Dec 2009 seemed unaware that the IL Supreme Court rules REQUIRE her to transmit notices of appeals in five days to the IL Appellate Court and she turned to McNamara and said “is that what we are doing?” This proved to me she doesn’t run her office, that she hasn’t read the statutes and rules that define her duties, and that she is not in charge.

    He responded that they had been doing it that way (sending it to Judge Biebel instead) for 20 years so “that must be the right thing.”

    Remember I replied “we had slavery for a century but that didn’t make it right!”


    Linda Shelton

    January 18, 2012 at 12:02 am

  5. These problems start from the very bottom all the way to the top. I am frustrated because I was an employee of the Cook County Courts until being laid off in November 2011. The reason that I am bitter is because my job was eliminated while an employee that has a Family member as a Chief that had less seniority than me kept their job. This being said, I was further irritated when during my last week of employment while trying to get that employee to assist clients, that employee simply told me to tell them to call back later. I still cant wrap my mind around this. Here I was providing the best service that I could, never letting a client go until I knew that they would be helped, and just because another employee has connections in the office they get to keep their jobs regardless if they care aboout providing proper service.up


    MS Anonymous Williams

    March 4, 2012 at 4:52 am

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