Judge Michael P. Toomin, presiding judge of Cook County’s juvenile division, – will NOT demand the courts treat kids as kids.
Get the Facts. #TossToomin
FACT: Unlike court officials in more than 40 other counties in Illinois, Toomin has not been willing to submit a funding proposal that meets the requirements of Redeploy Illinois, the state’s grant program to divert some youth from state prisons. Toomin refused to follow the program’s guidelines and resisted state efforts to help him craft a plan that could be approved. His opposition has prevented Cook County from receiving up to $1 million annually – money that could have provided care to youth in need and improved public safety by offering necessary services to youth and their families.
FACT: The coronavirus spreads fast through prison settings, but Michael P. Toomin moved slowly or not at all. When lawyers for youth held in the JTDC filed emergency motions for hearings to get them out of harm’s way and back home, Toomin sat on his hands. He didn’t consider a global pandemic to be an emergency.
FACT: Toomin is a true believer in the widely discredited “scared straight” approach to changing juvenile behaviors. In 2016, he created a phony courtroom in a Chicago police station where judges – without lawyers present – were to “scare kids straight.” The sham hearings were stopped, but this is an example of the culture he has allowed to fester in juvenile courtrooms.
FACT: During his years on the bench in criminal court, Toomin was reversed on appeal many times, including his rulings favoring police in trials relying on coerced confessions of men interrogated by detectives working under Jon Burge, the notorious and disgraced CPD commander.