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Sheriff Dart confused about ‘unjust incarceration’

Sheriff Tom Dart | Sun-Times file photo

A Sun-Times story on Tuesday, “Dart backs 5-year expiration on warrants”, reports that a bill pending in the Illinois Legislature, supported by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, would put a five-year limit on future unexecuted arrest warrants issued by judges.

Dart’s chief of policy, Cara Smith, claims that old unexecuted warrants are “a subset of unjust incarceration” when finally executed, resulting in some offenders being held in Cook County Jail until the matter is resolved by a judge, and that the legislation “would provide some accountability for those who issue warrants.”

“Unjust incarceration” for an offender who flouts the system by, for example, failing to appear in court or obey the conditions of probation? Such offenders have placed themselves in jeopardy of being arrested on an outstanding warrant.

As to providing “accountability for those who issue warrants,” Smith apparently is referring to judges, since they the ones who issue warrants. Making judges “accountable” for issuing warrants for the arrest of offenders? What does Smith have in mind? Stopping judges from issuing valid warrants? It is the duty of law enforcement officers, not judges, to execute arrest warrants.

The sheriff’s office should do the job of running the Cook County Jail instead of playing word games (“unjust incarceration”) and impugning the judiciary.

Dennis M. Dohm
Retired Circuit Judge
Oak Lawn

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EPA gave us the Rust Belt

Yes, the EPA has “protected” Chicago, as noted in a Sun-Times editorial. But the EPA has also cost this city and state good-paying jobs. All those smokestacks that now are idle used to produce products now made elsewhere. All those folks gainfully employed have now taken menial jobs elsewhere. At what price is this “cleaner” air? Sure, the air is cleaner in metro areas, but only because most large and medium factories have closed or moved to areas that impose less severe environmental constraints. I watched U.S. Steel close. And Reynolds Metals. And Sheffield Steel in Joliet. I was right there, as I worked at all of them. So, yes, the air around those plants is cleaner. And all those workers are less employed. We cannot clean up the pollution of the entire planet. Nor should we have to suffer for it financially or otherwise. Perhaps President Donald Trump will help alleviate some of the unnecessary burdens in the rules and regulations — for the sake of the next generation of American workers.

Neal Filipello, Crete

A better way for Rauner to spend $50 million

Tina Sfondeles of the Sun-Times reports that Gov. Bruce Rauner in December donated $50 million to his campaign. If the governor were to take that $50 million and donate it to Illinois, specifically to the state’s human services and universities, the Chicago Public Schools and — to which he has diminished funding by his stonewalling and veto powers — perhaps then the voters could view his campaign for a second term as something more than hubris.

Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Lakeview