Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New Cook County Circuit Court Judges: Cook County Sheriffs Deputies

I saw this mildly concerning piece in today's Sun-Times regarding new procedures in the Sheriff's office regarding renter evictions where the eviction is resulting from a property owner's foreclosure. For those of you not familiar with eviction procedure in Cook County, a court gives you what's called an Order for Possession for a property. You give this Order to the Cook Sheriff's eviction department who eventually will be the person(s) actually doing the evicting. It's my understanding that 1 day prior to the Sheriff showing up, a notice of the eviction gets placed at a unit giving some warning of the removal.

Now the new policy:

Starting today, deputies who enter homes where no one is present will hold off for seven days, leaving a brightly colored sign on the door to let renters know they have a week to provide proof of occupancy.

If the tenants prove they are living there as renters, the eviction will be called off, Connelly said. In the past, if no one was home, the eviction would take place.

How and to whom are tenants going to "prove they are living there as renters"? Let me start by saying I certainly would feel for a renter in this situation. However, doesn't the above strike you as in essence the Sheriff acting as Judge? There are many ways to stop an eviction properly but they should involve a judgment made by the person whom our system gives the ability to make said judgment, i.e. Circuit/Associate Judges. Now the Sheriff's getting in on the action and of course not in a way favorable to Plaintiffs.

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