Criminal Courts Judge Angered With Prosecutors Decision On Gang Members

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Criminal Courts building judge’s temper flared Saturday as a Cook County prosecutor opted not to send half a dozen reputed gang members to jail for violating conditions of their parole or probation — after she had found probable cause to hold each of them for trial.

Associate Judge Peggy Chiampas couldn’t believe what she heard repeatedly from the prosecutor — that the state’s attorney’s office would not pursue charges against suspects on parole or probation, some with armed robbery or aggravated assault convictions, despite clear violations, mostly for being in the company of other known gang members despite conditions of release that forbade it. WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports.

Chiampas made sure for the record that everyone knew it was the prosecutor’s decision, not hers.

Chiampas asked if it was the state’s attorney’s policy, and called out activist Andrew Holmes, who was sitting in the courtroom’s back row to view an unrelated hearing, to be her witness.

“We have asked over and over again that the judicial system come and help with this gun violence with repeated offenders,” Holmes said afterward. “I’ve just witnessed why they’re out on the street, and I agree with that judge.”

Holmes said this is the “revolving door” that drives violent crime figures up and frustrates Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson so much.

WBBM has asked the state’s attorney’s office for comment.

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