In September 2018, when the Cook County Board of Commissioners outlawed placing children younger than 13 in the county’s juvenile jail, advocates cheered the move. One group put out a press release in which Democratic Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said the ordinance would “prevent young children from being scarred by confinement.”
But then, just about a month later, the county’s top juvenile judge made a decision to keep two 12-year-old boys in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. In the ruling Judge Michael Toomin said the county’s new law conflicted with state law and judges were not obligated to follow it.
On Wednesday afternoon, an Illinois appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments on that decision, and whether the county is allowed to ban judges from placing young kids in jail.