Judge overrules Cook County Electoral Board, says rival to Sheriff Tom Dart should be put back on ballot – Chicago Tribune

Nearly three weeks after being declared ineligible to run within the Democratic main, considered one of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s fundamental rivals was allowed back within the race Monday by a Cook County decide, who dominated the county Electoral Board erred in eradicating her from the ballot.

Carmen Navarro Gercone’s profitable attraction of a call by the Cook County Electoral Board comes with little greater than a month to go earlier than the June 28 main. Dart’s marketing campaign had argued that she was ineligible to run beneath a controversial new state legislation that requires sheriff’s candidates to be registered legislation enforcement officers.

In a tersely worded ruling on Monday, Judge Nichole Patton referred to as the board’s actions “a clear dereliction of duty” and mentioned the board’s resolution incorrectly relied on an interpretation of the legislation from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.

“The (Electoral) Board failed to decide any factual issues. The Board failed to make an independent ruling. The Board merely threw up its hands and made an unprecedented stance to assign their statutory duties to another agency,” Patton wrote in her ruling.

At a information convention on Monday, Navarro Gercone praised the decide’s resolution and mentioned she hopes that “the voters are ready” to sort out points similar to digital monitoring reform, the sheriff’s office’s strategies for dealing with warrants and higher coaching for police and correctional officers.

The Dart marketing campaign plans to attraction Patton’s ruling “so voters can have faith that they will be actually voting on candidates who are lawfully eligible to hold the office of Cook County Sheriff,” marketing campaign spokesman Joe Ryan mentioned.

“It is incredibly important for Cook County voters to know that those running for Office are legally qualified to hold that Office,” Ryan mentioned in a textual content message. “Sheriff Dart had nothing to do with creating this law, but he is nonetheless bound to follow it just as are all candidates.”

Navarro Gercone was kicked off the first ballot beneath a legislation that took impact this year requiring anybody working for a sheriff’s position in Illinois to be a licensed legislation enforcement officer. While she was by no means a sworn police officer, Navarro Gercone had coaching as a corrections officer, and was as soon as a sergeant, a lieutenant and an assistant chief on the sheriff’s office.

This new state legislation was tucked deep inside the 700-page Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today legislation, or SAFE-T Act, that was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2021.

Dart, Cook County’s sheriff for 16 years, was as soon as a prosecutor however by no means a sworn police officer. While his standing just isn’t a problem as a result of he’s grandfathered in beneath the brand new legislation, Dart obtained a legislation enforcement certification late final year, in accordance to state information.

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The board that took the 2-1 vote to take Navarro Gercone off the ballot was made up of designees from three countywide officeholders — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez, who has endorsed Navarro Gercone.

The board members chosen by Foxx and Yarbrough voted to have Navarro Gercone eliminated, whereas Martinez’s designee voted to hold Navarro Gercone on the ballot.

Martinez had drawn criticism from Dart’s marketing campaign for not recusing herself or her board appointee as a result of as well as to endorsing Navarro Gercone, she can be her present boss.

In February, one of many chief sponsors of the SAFE-T Act, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, a Chicago Democrat, advised the Tribune that the controversial provision was added to the laws on the behest of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. But he did acknowledge there have “been several questions, which I think, to be honest with you, need to be sorted out.”

Jim Kaitschuk, govt director of the sheriffs’ affiliation, mentioned in February he thought the brand new rule was truthful as a result of “most people have the expectation that a sheriff is a cop,” whereas declining to remark on the specifics of the Cook County sheriff’s race.

Dart’s different challengers within the Democratic main are Chicago police Sgt. Noland Rivera and LaTonya Ruffin, who has labored as a south suburban police officer.

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